Chapter 12. Gestures, language, and what they reveal about thought

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Music is abstract and elusive enough that we are often forced to describe it using metaphors, referencing more concrete and familiar experiences. The research reported in this chapter aims to apply cognitive, sociocultural, and applied linguistic theories to metaphor use in music classrooms in Taiwan, where Mandarin Chinese is used. Analysing data recorded in a junior high school classroom in Taiwan, in this preliminary study I seek to develop (i) an understanding of how teachers talk about, describe, and construct meanings of music as reflected by the use of metaphor and metaphorically-used gestures in music classrooms, and (ii) an understanding of the functions, distribution, and clustering of the metaphors used. The results indicate that metaphor is an essential instrument in teaching music.


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