Volume 15, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1568-1475
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9773
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Closing argument represents the most crucial part of the adversarial system of justice. For attorneys, it provides an opportunity to showcase their persuasive skills through the full range of semiotic resources at their disposal. While studies of legal discourse have examined speech performance, few studies, if any, have analyzed how speech integrates with gesture and material conduct in the production of persuasive oratory. This work demonstrates the role of multimodal and material action in concert with speech and how an attorney employs hand movements, material objects, and speech to reinforce significant points of evidence for the jury. More theoretically, we demonstrate how beat gestures and material objects synchronize with speech to not only accentuate rhythm and foreground points of evidential significance but, at certain moments, invoke semantic imagery as well.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): beat gestures; legal discourse; material conduct; speaker alignment
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