Workshop: Analysing Multimodal Data

Workshop leader:

Dr Mandana Seyfeddinipur, Endangered Languages Documentation Programme, SOAS



The workshop will emulate the process of conducting a gesture study from an understanding of the phenomenon and the analysis methodology, to data collection with video over to gesture analysis with ELAN.  In the workshop students will learn why gesture data play an important role in understanding the fundamentally multimodal nature of language use. In the second part hands on practice will take place and students will collect gesture data of different types and learn how to use video equipment. In the third part of the workshop students will be introduced to how to use ELAN for gesture annotation and analysis.

I will focus on manual gesture and show how speech and gesture are integrated and how the operate in tandem on all linguistic level. I will also show how cultures differ in their gesture use and how gesture can provide evidence for cognitive basis of linguistic relativity. After the introduction to the phenomenon of manual gesture the focus will be on how to record gesture. Students will learn about the technical and the methodological basis of video recording. In hands on practice students will go out and collect video recorded data. The recording will be reviewed and discussed in groups. A selection of the recorded materials will then be used to annotate and segment in ELAN.

Students will learn that gestures are pervasive in communication across cultures as integral parts of linguistic practices of speech communities.  They play a central role in everyday interaction as well as in more tightly scripted communicative events like story tellings, religious rituals, and legal practices. Gestures come into play where cultural taboos prohibit speech. Speech communities have culture-specific gestural repertoires at their disposal, which serve as an expressive resource in tandem with language. Specific linguistic domains like demonstrative systems can often not be adequately understood without taking into account the accompanying gesture systems. Moreover, the analysis of gestures can reveal aspects of cognition like the interplay of linguistic and non-linguistic thought like spatial cognition.

The documentation of gestural repertoires and their interrelation with communicative practices should therefore be an important component of a comprehensive documentation of language and culture that aims at preserving intellectual values. In addition to informing the rapidly growing field of gesture studies, adequate primary data on gestures can be utilized for interdisciplinary research in the in the fields of linguistics, ethnography of communicative events, the organization of interaction (conversation analysis) and the interplay of language and cognition. In order to enable successful interdisciplinary research a sufficient theoretical background, as well as knowledge about practical issues of data collection and analysis are the prerequisites.



Tuesday, June 24

08:45 – 09:00     Registration

09:00 – 11:10     Language and multimodality

11:10 – 11:30     Coffee Break

11:30 – 13:00     Language use and multimodality

13:00 – 14:00     Lunch

14:00 – 15:30     How to record video in the field

15:30 – 15:45     Coffee Break

15:45 – 17:15     Hands on session: Recording gesture


Wednesday, June 25

09:00 – 11:10     Review of recordings

11:10 – 11:30     Coffee Break

11:30 – 13:00     Introduction to gesture coding and ELAN

13:00 – 14:00     Lunch

14:00 – 15:30     Introduction to gesture coding and ELAN

15:30 – 15:45     Coffee Break

15:45 – 17:15     Discussion


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