Pointing, talk, and the bodies

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Pointing has been extensively studied in the Gesture Studies literature. This chapter treats pointing, together with other gestures mobilizing the entire body, as multimodal resources deployed by speakers in referring actions that orient to and are responded to by the co-participants. Using conversation analysis, the paper examines the organization of actions in which a speaker initiates a new sequence and, by pointing, establishes the joint attention of the co-participants towards an object. These actions show the complexity of pointing as an interactional phenomenon concerning the organization of turns and sequences. The data consist of video-recorded naturally occurring social interactions and, more specifically, guided visits, which are perspicuous settings for the study of pointing and achieving joint attention.


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