Chapter 4. Dyadic evidence for grounding with abstract deictic gestures
Speakers use gestures to communicate within a dialogue, not as isolated individuals. We therefore analyzed gestural communication within dyadic dialogues. Specifically, we microanalyzed <i>grounding</i> (the sequence of steps by which speaker and addressee ensure their mutual understanding) in a task that elicited abstract deictic gestures. Twenty-two dyads designing a hypothetical floor plan together without writing implements often used gestures to describe these non-existent spaces. We examined the 552 gestures (97% of the database) that conveyed information that was not presented in the accompanying words. A highly reliable series of analyses tracked the immediate responses to these non-redundant speech-gesture combinations. In the vast majority of cases, the addressee’s response indicated understanding, and the speaker/gesturer’s actions confirmed that this understanding was correct.