What’s new? Gestures accompany inferable rather than brand-new referents in discourse

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TY - JOUR

T1 - What’s new?

T2 - Gestures accompany inferable rather than brand-new referents in discourse

AU - Debreslioska, Sandra

AU - Gullberg, Marianne

PY - 2020/9/23

Y1 - 2020/9/23

N2 - The literature on bimodal discourse reference has shown that gestures are sensitive to referents’ information status in discourse. Gestures occur more often with new referents/first mentions than with given referents/subsequent mentions. However, because not all new entities at first mention occur with gestures, the current study examines whether gestures are sensitive to a difference in information status between brand-new and inferable entities, and variation in nominal definiteness. Unexpectedly, the results show that gestures are more frequent with inferable referents (hearer-new but discourse-old) than with brand-new referents (hearer- and discourse-new). The findings reveal new aspects of the relationship between gestures and speech in discourse, specifically suggesting a complementary (disambiguating) function for gestures in the context of first mentioned discourse entities. The results thus highlight the multi-functionality of gestures in relation to speech.

AB - The literature on bimodal discourse reference has shown that gestures are sensitive to referents’ information status in discourse. Gestures occur more often with new referents/first mentions than with given referents/subsequent mentions. However, because not all new entities at first mention occur with gestures, the current study examines whether gestures are sensitive to a difference in information status between brand-new and inferable entities, and variation in nominal definiteness. Unexpectedly, the results show that gestures are more frequent with inferable referents (hearer-new but discourse-old) than with brand-new referents (hearer- and discourse-new). The findings reveal new aspects of the relationship between gestures and speech in discourse, specifically suggesting a complementary (disambiguating) function for gestures in the context of first mentioned discourse entities. The results thus highlight the multi-functionality of gestures in relation to speech.

KW - gestures

KW - discourse

KW - reference

KW - information status

KW - speech-gesture relationship

KW - visual language

KW - Information structure

KW - new/given information

U2 - 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01935

DO - 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01935

M3 - Article

C2 - 33071835

VL - 11

JO - Frontiers in Psychology

JF - Frontiers in Psychology

SN - 1664-1078

M1 - 1935

ER -