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Author Loehr, Daniel P
Title Gesture and intonation
book jacket
Descript 205 p
Note Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 65-06, Section: A, page: 2180
Adviser: Elizabeth C. Zsiga
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Georgetown University, 2004
This dissertation investigates the relationship between gesture and intonation. Gesture is known to correlate on a number of levels with speech in general, but less is known about gesture's relationship to intonation specifically
I filmed four subjects in natural conversations with friends, and annotated sections of the resulting digital videos for intonation and gesture. I annotated intonation following ToBI (Tones and Break Indices), an implementation of Pierrehumbert's (1980; Beckman and Pierrehumbert 1986) intonational framework. I coded gesture according to guidelines published by McNeill (1992) and colleagues. Over 7,500 time-stamped annotations were manually recorded in a digital annotation tool, and exported for statistical analysis
I sought answers to five questions. First, does Bolinger's (1983, 1986) hypothesis hold, in which pitch and body parts rise and fall together, to reflect increased or decreased tension? I found no evidence of this
Second, each modality has hypothesized units. Do the unit boundaries align? I found that the apexes of gestural strokes and pitch accents aligned consistently, and gestural phrases and intermediate phrases aligned quite often
Third, do the various unit types correlate? I found no significant correlation between movement types (e.g. deictics, beats) and tone types (e.g. pitch accents, phrase tones)
Fourth, do the respective meanings of gestural and intonational events correlate? Although intonation is semantically and pragmatically impoverished relative to gesture, I did find occasional but striking instances where the meanings of the two modalities converged
Finally, how do the two modalities integrate rhythmically? I found a rich relationship, in which the three main "instruments" (hands, head, voice) interplayed much like a jazz piece, with tempos that sometimes synchronized, sometimes differed, and which included full notes, half notes, and syncopation
The findings are relevant to theories proposed for each modality. For intonation, gestural counterparts to intermediate phrases provide independent evidence for the existence of such phrases. For gesture, the observed relationship with intonation lends support to the theory of a common cognitive origin of gesture and speech
School code: 0076
Host Item Dissertation Abstracts International 65-06A
Subject Language, Linguistics
Alt Author Georgetown University
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