Gesture and Prosody in Multimodal Communication

Lucien Brown, Pilar Prieto

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


Whereas sociopragmatics as a field has been dominated by the analysis of verbal elements, this chapter adopts the perspective that sociopragmatic meanings are communicated in a multimodal fashion that encompasses prosody, gesture and other forms of nonverbal expression. We provide an overview of how prosodic and gestural means are employed for signalling information status, for marking the internal organization of speech and for communicating epistemic stance, (im)politeness, irony and speaker identity. This overview shows that prosody is closely integrated with gesture both at the temporal level and in the kinds of pragmatic meanings that these two systems are used to encode. We thus adopt the position, following the tenets of audiovisual prosody, that prosody and gesture can be considered as sister systems in the marking of sociopragmatic meanings in human communication.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Handbook of Sociopragmatics
EditorsMichael Haugh, Dániel Z. Kádár, Marina Terkourafi
Place of PublicationCambridge UK
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9781108954105
ISBN (Print)9781108844963, 9781108949309
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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