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NORDSCI Conference proceedings 2020, Book 1

Language and linguistics


Assoc. Prof. Dr. Maira Avelar


For structuring spatial relations, Brazilian Portuguese has four basic deictic forms: “aqui” (nearer to the speaker), “aí” (nearer to the addressee), “ali” (near to both speaker and addressee), and “lá” (distal from both speaker and addressee), whereas American English has a two-way distinction, linguistically expressed by “here” (near to the speaker) and “there” (distal from both the speaker and the hearer). Considering these differences, we aim at investigating how manual gestures operate along with speech, to point out to referents both located in the immediate interactional scene, the Ground [1], and projected in a non-immediate scene, narrated by the speaker. To do so, we collected 60 videos [2], 10 for each deictic, from late-night talk shows broadcasted in Brazilian, as well as in American TV broadcasts. As we carried out a gestural form and function analysis, the Linguistic Annotation System for Gestures [3], was adopted, which provided categorization tools to describe and analyze the verbo-gestural compounds encompassing locative deictic expressions both in American English and in Brazilian Portuguese. Results from both languages data samples support the hypothesis that the most frequent gestures that go along with the verbally uttered deictic expression is the pointing gesture. However, Brazilian Portuguese speakers predominantly use Pointing with Index Finger, associated to more prototypical deictic uses [4]. On the other hand, American English speakers mostly use Pointing with Open Hand, which is more associated to abstract ideas related to the conversational topic [4]. Considering gesture functions, it was also supported the hypothesis that referential function was predominant in both data samples. However, when the referential function was divided into concrete and abstract, Brazilian Portuguese shows a predominance of abstract deictic [5] uses, locating objects or entities in the imagined narrative scene. American English shows a predominance of concrete referential uses, locating objects or entities on the immediate scene. Finally, when the use of the verbo-gestural compounds is related to the ICM of Deixis [6], the comparison between Brazilian Portuguese and American English datasets indicates a cognitive resemblance between both languages, even though the deictic spatial relations are linguistically established in different ways on the same discursive genre.


Locative deixis, Gesture Studies, Cross-cultural analysis, Late-night TV talk shows


NORDSCI International Conference 2020, Book 1, Conference Proceedings, ISSN 2603-4107, ISBN 978-619-7495-11-9, THE USE OF LOCATIVE DEIXIS FROM A COGNITVE-LINGUISTIC PERSPECTIVE: A CROSS-CULTURAL MULTIMODAL ANALYSIS, 203-211 pp, DOI paper 10.32008/NORDSCI2020/B1/V3/21

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