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Cognitive Linguistics

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Volume 29, Issue 4


The multimodal marking of aspect: The case of five periphrastic auxiliary constructions in North American English

Jennifer HinnellORCID iD: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-4809-3512
Published Online: 2018-10-11 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cog-2017-0009


Cognitive linguistics (CL) has, in recent years, seen an increase in appeals to include multiple modalities in language analyses. While individual studies have incorporated gesture, gaze, facial expression, and prosody, among other modalities, CL has yet to completely embrace the systematic analysis of face-to-face interaction. Here, I present an investigation of five aspect-marking periphrastic constructions in North American English. Using naturalistic interactional data (n=250) from the Red Hen archive, this study establishes a multimodal profile for auxiliary constructions headed by one of five highly aspectualized verbs: continue, keep, start, stop, and quit, as in The jackpot continued to grow and He quit smoking. Results show that gesture timing, the structure of the gesture stroke, and gesture movement type, are variables that iconically and differentially represent distinctive aspectual conceptualizations. This study enhances our understanding of aspectual representation in co-speech gesture and informs the ongoing debate within CL and construction grammar circles of what constitutes conventionalization, or what constitutes a construction (mono- or multimodal).

Keywords: co-speech gesture; aspect; Aktionsart; multimodality; auxiliary constructions


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About the article

Received: 2017-01-20

Accepted: 2018-05-30

Revised: 2018-05-30

Published Online: 2018-10-11

Published in Print: 2018-11-27

Citation Information: Cognitive Linguistics, Volume 29, Issue 4, Pages 773–806, ISSN (Online) 1613-3641, ISSN (Print) 0936-5907, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cog-2017-0009.

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