||Gesture in Multiparty Interaction
Sociolinguistics in Deaf Communities, Volume 24
“Shaw presses us, as sociolinguists, to think of co-speech and talk as symbiotic, mutually elaborating dimensions of the same thing: language.”
—Language in Society 50 (2021)
“I am quite optimistic about the perspective on embodied discourse that Shaw provides in Gesture in Multiparty Interaction ... Shaw’s approach, which moves beyond the gesture-sign dichotomy to instead focus on the functions of composite utterances in situated discourse, presents a compelling and encouraging solution for integrating these two fields in a theoretically satisfying way. Along the way, Shaw’s detailed analysis of instances of naturalistic discourse, though challenging to condense into bite-sized portions for the purposes of writing a review, richly illustrate these complex theoretical notions, making them accessible to new audiences.”
—Sign Languages & Linguistics 23:1 (2020)
Gesture in Multiparty Interaction confronts the competing views that exist regarding gesture’s relationship to language. In this work, Emily Shaw examines embodied discourses in American Sign Language and spoken English and seeks to establish connections between sign language and co-speech gesture. By bringing the two modalities together, Shaw illuminates the similarities between certain phenomena and presents a unified analysis of embodied discourse that more clearly captures gesture’s connection to language as a whole.
Shaw filmed Deaf and hearing participants playing a gesture-based game as part of a social game night. Their interactions were then studied using discourse analysis to see whether and how Deaf and hearing people craft discourses through the use of their bodies. This volume examines gesture, not just for its iconic, imagistic qualities, but also as an interactive resource in signed and spoken discourse. In addition, Shaw addresses the key theoretical barriers that prevent a full accounting of gesture’s interface with signed and spoken language. Her study pushes further the notion that language is fundamentally embodied.
Emily Shaw is an assistant professor in the Department of Interpretation and Translation at Gallaudet University. She is also a nationally certified ASL–English interpreter.