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Cognitive Linguistics

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Volume 24, Issue 4


Construal of Manner in speech and gesture in Mandarin, English, and Japanese

Amanda Brown
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  • Department of Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 13244, USA
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/ Jidong Chen
Published Online: 2013-11-21 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cog-2013-0021


Two-way typological patterning between satellite- and verb-framed languages in construal of Manner of motion is well attested in speech (e.g. Slobin 2006) and gesture (e.g. McNeill 2001), but contradictory findings exist regarding a third category of equipollently-framed languages (Slobin 2004b). This study examined elicited descriptions of motion from 14 native speakers of Mandarin-Chinese (equipollently-framed), 13 native speakers of English (satellite-framed), and 16 native speakers of Japanese (verb-framed). Results showed that Mandarin and English speakers encoded Manner in speech significantly more than Japanese speakers, and rarely added Manner to gesture when it was absent from speech. However, Mandarin speakers differed from Japanese but also English speakers in gestural highlighting of Manner, where they frequently encoded Manner in speech but not in accompanying gestures, focusing instead on other aspects of the event, specifically Path. These results support a partial three-way typological distinction in construal of motion.

Keywords: gesture; manner; motion event construal; typology; Mandarin Chinese; English; Japanese

About the article

Published Online: 2013-11-21

Published in Print: 2013-11-20

Citation Information: Cognitive Linguistics, Volume 24, Issue 4, Pages 605–631, ISSN (Online) 1613-3641, ISSN (Print) 0936-5907, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cog-2013-0021.

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