Volume 14, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1568-1475
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9773
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This paper describes the organisation of kinesic ensembles associated with negation in speech through a qualitative study of negative utterances identified in face-to-face conversations between English speakers. All the utterances contain a verbal negative particle (no, not, nothing, etc.) and the kinesic ensembles comprise Open Hand Prone gestures and head shakes, both associated with the expression of negation in previous studies (e.g., Kendon, 2002, 2004; Calbris, 1990, 2011; Harrison, 2009, 2010). To analyse how these elements relate to each other, the utterances were studied in ELAN annotation software with separate analytical tiers for aspects of form in both speech and gestures. The micro-analysis of the temporal and semantic coordination between tiers shows that kinesic ensembles are organized in relation to the node, scope, and focus of negation in speech. Speakers coordinate gesture phrase structures of both head and hand gestures in relation to the grammar of verbal negation, and the gestures they use share a core formational feature that expresses a negative semantic theme in line with the expression of negation in the verbal utterance. The paper demonstrates these connections between grammar and gesture and sheds light on the mechanics of ‘multimodal negation’ at the utterance level.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): head shakes; kinesic ensembles; negation; Open Hand Prone gestures
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