The next meeting of the Amsterdam Gesture Center will take place on

Friday, Nov. 28, 10:00-11:15,
in the VU MediaXperience, Video Reflection Room
VU main building, room 1A-01
conducted by Ronghua Wang, double PhD candidate, VU Amsterdam & Xiamen U.

Like many languages of the world, Mandarin Chinese offers a set of grammatical options for characterizing the temporal contour of events. Research in gesture studies (e.g., Duncan 2002, McNeill 2003) makes the argument that the grammatical category of aspect also has reflections in speakers’ gestures. This work is increasingly playing a role studying how the grammatical options available in a given language may influence the moment-by-moment processes of what Slobin (1987) has called “thinking for speaking”. This issue provides the basis for Ronghua’s research, involving a comparison of the functioning of aspectual categories in English and Chinese speech and gesture.

In the session on Friday, after a brief overview of the aspectual particles in Chinese, the focus will be on a set of video examples from a Chinese TV talk show. Using transcripts of the excerpts with close glosses and translations into English, the purpose of the data session will be to brainstorm about possible approaches to analyzing gestures used with utterances that include aspect-marking particles. No prior knowledge of Chinese is assumed for this session; rather non-native perspectives on the data versus those of our native Chinese speaking students will provide points of comparison for the data session.

The meeting will be conducted in collaboration with the Multimodal Communication and Cognition Lab  (PoliMod) at Moscow State Linguistic University via Skype. In this way, a team from Russia, Germany, and France researching aspect in speech and gesture in Russian, German, and French will also take part in the brainstorming.