Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton May 8, 2014

Co-constructing referential space in multimodal narratives

Kashmiri Stec and Mike Huiskes
From the journal Cognitive Semiotics


Meaning-making is a situated, multimodal process. Although most research has focused on conceptualization in individuals, recent work points to the way dynamic processes can affect both conceptualization and expression in multiple individuals (e.g. Özyürek 2002; Fusaroli and Tylén 2012; Narayan 2012). In light of this, we investigate the co-construction of referential space in dyadic multimodal communication. Referential space is the association of a referent with a particular spatial location (McNeill and Pedelty 1995). We focus on the multimodal means by which dyads collaboratively co-construct or co-use referential space, and use it to answer questions related to its use and stability in communication. Whereas previous work has focused on an individual's use of referential space (So et al. 2009), our data suggest that spatial locations are salient to both speakers and addressees: referents assigned to particular spatial locations can be mutually accessible to both participants, as well as stable across longer stretches of discourse.

Published Online: 2014-5-8
Published in Print: 2014-5-1

©2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston