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Body, Language and Meaning in Conflict Situations

A semiotic analysis of gesture-word mismatches in Israeli-Jewish and Arab discourse

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Abstract

This original research applies semiotics to linguistic and non-linguistic segments in a text in search of potential correlations between them. The resultant mapping is applied to cases of gesture-word mismatches that are evident in conflict situations. The current study adopts the word systems approach, a sign-based theory that is naturally designed for the analysis of linguistic signs, and extends it to non-linguistic units, borrowing analytical tools from the field of dance movement therapy. The variety of interdisciplinary metaphorical and literal interpretations of the analyzed signs enriches the theoretical framework and facilitates examination of the instances of mismatches. Hence, this study makes a meaningful contribution to the understanding of linguistic/non-linguistic mismatches in situations of conflict. Further, it makes more general claims: the semiotic system underlying this study paves the way for further research of correlations (or lack thereof) between a range of phenomena cutting across sociology, sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics and political science.

Subjects: Gesture Studies; Discourse studies; Pragmatics; Semiotics

References

http://jbenjamins.metastore.ingenta.com/content/books/9789027287557
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