International Multimodal Communication Centre Research Seminar

Event Programme

5 pm – 5.50 pm: Talk: Gesture, metaphor, and spatial language
By Professor Sotaro Kita, University of Warwick
5:50 – 6.20 pm: Q&A
6:20 – 7:00 pm: discussion during a wine reception

Abstract:I will discuss how co-speech (i.e., speech-accompanying) gestures relate to language and conceptualisation underlying language. I will focus on “representational gestures”, which
can depict motion, action, and shape or can indicate locations (i.e., “iconic” and “deictic” gestures in McNeill’s 1992 classification). I will provide evidence for the following two points
(using examples from English and Japanese). Various aspects of language shape co-speech gestures. Conversely, the way we produce co-speech gestures can shape language. I will
discuss these issues in relation to manner and path in motion event descriptions, clauselinkage types in complex event descriptions, and metaphor. I will conclude that gesture and
language are parts of a "conceptualisation engine”, which takes advantage of unique strengths of spatio-motoric representation and linguistic representation.

Bio: Prof. Sotaro Kita is a world-leading researcher in gesture and language studies. He has been Professor of Psychology of Language at Warwick since 2013. After studying engineering
in Japan (B.Eng., Mathematical engineering, University of Tokyo,1986; M.Eng. Information engineering, University of Tokyo, 1988), Prof. Kita moved to Chicago (USA). He received a
Ph.D. in psychology and linguistics from the University of Chicago (1993) under the supervision of Professor David McNeill. In 1993, he joined the Cognitive Anthropology
Research Group (lead by Stephen Levinson) at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in the Netherlands, where he worked as a postdoc (1993-1994) and then a Senior Researcher
in Levinson's group (1994-2003). Throughout his stay at the Institute, he was the leader of the Gesture Project, one of the research foci of the Institute. Prof. Kita was a Senior Lecturer at
the Dept. of Experimental Psychology in the University of Bristol (2003-2006), and a Reader at the School of Psychology in the University of Birmingham (2006-2013).

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