Volume 22, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1387-6759
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9897



Recent work has shown that ASL (American Sign Language) signers not only articulate the language in the space in front of and around them, they interact with that space bodily, such that those interactions are frequently viewpointed. At a basic level, signers use their bodies to depict the actions of characters, either themselves or others, in narrative retelling. These viewpointed instances seem to reflect “embodied cognition”, in that our construal of reality is largely due to the nature of our bodies (Evans and Green, 2006) and “embodied language” such that the symbols we use to communicate are “grounded in recurring patterns of bodily experience” (Gibbs, 2017: 450). But what about speakers of a spoken language such as English? While we know that meaning and structure for any language, whether spoken or signed, affect and are affected by the embodied mind (note that the bulk of research on embodied language has been about spoken, not signed, language), we can learn much about embodied cognition and viewpointed space when spoken languages are treated as multimodal. Here, we compare signed ASL and spoken, multimodal English discourse to examine whether the two languages incorporate viewpointed space in similar or different ways.

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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): English/ASL; multimodality; perspective-taking; stance; viewpoint
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