A Universal of Human Interaction? – Manual Movement as Interactional Practice in Spoken and Signed Conversation
When humans interact, they may make use of a range of resources, such as head movements, facial expressions, manual movement, body posture and speech. It is assumed that participants both produce and perceive this stream of information in a differentiated way: Some segments are attended to as belonging to the content of the discourse while others are rather backgrounded and may serve to regulate the interaction in terms of speakership and turn-taking. This thesis is an anthology comprised of four studies that all touch upon the role of these backgrounded segments of behaviour in both spoken and signed interaction. In particular, I analyse manual movement phases as well as self-touching behaviour in the area of the face and the head. It is found that participants may tweak individual movement phases (such as withholding the retraction to a stable rest position or transforming the manual movement into a self-touch) that provide an in situ interpretation of the sequential structure (e.g., that a given line of action is complete) and may occasion the emergence of hierarchically structured levels of degrees of involvement (e.g., it may indicate suspension of a given line of action). As a result, I suggest that speakership is best understood as a continuum, rather than a binary concept (i.e. speaker and listener). It turns out that all roles within this spectrum are not static ones but have to be enacted and performed in order to be perceived as such. I show that participants in signed and spoken conversation exploit the same resources, i.e. segments of manual movement, as part of the same practices in order to regulate speakership and turn-taking. Some of these resources are apt to be ascribed a linguistic status as part of the system of a given sign language (e.g., Swedish Sign Language and American Sign Language), while in spoken language they are often regarded as an add-on to vocal resources. This a priori divide between what counts as sign and gesture respectively obscures areas of overlap (cf. Kendon 2008) and, in the light of the results, it is suggested to treat them in the same way. Furthermore, with regard to the geographic distance and linguistic diversi- ty of the languages herein analysed (Swedish Sign Language, Japanese and German), I discuss whether the use of manual movement phases as interac- tional practice may be considered a universal in human interaction.
Parts of work
Cibulka, Paul (2015). When the hands do not go home: A micro-study of the role of gesture phases in sequence suspension and closure. Discourse Studies, 17 (1), 3–24. doi:10.1177/1461445614557756Cibulka, Paul (in print). On how to do things with holds: Manual movement phases as part of interactional practices in signed conversation. Sign Language Studies, 16 (4).Cibulka, Paul (manuscript). Exploring common ground in gesture and sign – Interactional workings of manual holds in spoken and signed interaction.Cibulka, Paul & Mats Andrén (submitted). Self-touching behaviour in social interaction: Shifting in and out of speakership.
Doctor of Philosophy
Göteborgs universitet. Humanistiska fakulteten
University of Gothenburg. Faculty of Arts
Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science ; Institutionen för filosofi, lingvistik och vetenskapsteori
Fredagen den 3 juni 2016, kl 13.00, T307, G:a Hovrätten, Olof Wijksgatan 6
Date of defence