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Catchment, growth point and spatial metaphor: Analysing Derrida's oral discourse on deconstruction

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Abstract

Based on a televised interview of the philosopher Jacques Derrida regarding his concept of deconstruction, this research explores the respective roles of image, speech, and gesture in the production of meaning. After having studied the linguistic characteristics of the interview in its entirety, the authors conduct a verbal and non-verbal analysis of a short excerpt, in which they examine: 1) the relevance of two recent conceptual tools developed by David McNeill et al. (1992 to present) – catchment and growth point – and 2) the use of Tuite’s schema (1993) to formalize speech production. At the end of the study, the authors propose a revised version of Tuite’s model, which integrates McNeill’s concepts of catchment and growth point. Their analysis clearly supports the hypothesis that image is influential in activating the whole process of speech production. However, the role of gesture remains unclear. Might gesture not also, and above all, be the scaffolding on which verbal production is based? The multimodal approach to Derrida’s speech presented here appears significant and revealing with regard to this question.

References

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