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Static and dynamic space: Verbal-gestural description of place and route in children

Abstract : The category of Space is one of the most crucial ontological categories. Its importance and complexity has long been nourishing the interest in how people understand, represent and express different spatial situations and events. The present study investigated both static and dynamic space (place and route) in the context of multimodal oral descriptions (speech and co-speech gesture) and from a developmental perspective (three age groups). Our approach is anchored in gesture-speech theoretical framework (e.g. McNeill 1992) and inspired by gesture-space empirical studies (e.g. Cassell, Stone, & Yan 2000; Emmorey, Tversky, & Taylor 2001). The participants are 32 typically developing children aged 6-7, 8-9, 10-11 years. Data collection took place in their school during individual sessions. Each child was asked to describe his/her classroom (Experiment 1) and the route from the school entrance to the courtyard (Experiment 2), a counterbalanced design being applied. Oral descriptions were videotaped, then transcribed and annotated in ELAN. Focusing on different variables, we formulated six main questions. 1) Gesture form: What types of gesture appear in place/route descriptions? E.g. drawing iconic, modeling iconic, abstract deictic… 2) Verbal and gestural reference: Which elements of a given place/route are mentioned in speech and which ones are depicted in simultaneously produced gesture? E.g. motion, landmark, activity… 3) Verbal and gestural content: What characteristics of a given place/route element are provided verbally and what characteristics are represented gesturally? E.g. trajectory, location, shape… 4) Frame of reference: What perspective is adopted when speaking and gesturing about a given place/route? Typically, egocentric versus allocentric. 5) Gesture-speech semantic relation: Do speech and gesture convey the same information about a given place/route? 6) Effect of age: How does multimodal description of place/route develop in children? The results will be presented and discussed in light of current knowledge of gesture-speech relations and spatial language/cognition development. Cassell, J., Stone, M., & Yan, H. (2000). Coordination and Context-Dependence in the Generation of Embodied Conversation. Paper presented at the INLG 2000, Mitzpe Ramon, Israel. Emmorey, K., Tversky, B., & Taylor, H. A. (2001). Using space to describe space: Perspective in speech, sign, and gesture. Spatial Cognition and Computation, 00, 1- 24. McNeill, D. (1992). Hand and Mind: What Gestures Reveal about Thought. Chicago, IL/London, UK: The University of Chicago Press.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, January 4, 2022 - 5:08:21 PM
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  • HAL Id : hal-03511022, version 1

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Katerina Fibigerova, Valérie Tartas, Christophe Jouffrais, Bernard Oriola. Static and dynamic space: Verbal-gestural description of place and route in children. I5th Congress of the International for the Study of Child Language (IASCL 2021), International Association for the Study of Child Language (IASCL), Jul 2021, Philladelphia, United States. ⟨hal-03511022⟩

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