Faculty Research Fellow

Jackman Humanities Institute
2018 - 2019

Communicating Through Speech and Gestures This project will take linguistic analysis beyond the realm of words by investigating the contribution of gestures in face-to-face conversations where speech and gestures work together to produce a coherent and coordinated communicative act by analyzing the role of gestures in conversation from the perspective of formal pragmatics within the larger framework of model-theoretic semantics. The starting point of the project are gestures used in conversation by native speakers of Italian. I will pursue the hypothesis that quotable gestures in Italian are speech act markers and that their role in discourse is to signal the speaker’s and hearer’s commitment (or lack thereof) to a given proposition. I hope to advance our understanding of the human ability to read each other in face-to-face communication and, more generally, our understanding of human cognition.