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Organic and performance components in vocal and non‐vocal communication: unifying concepts of description and interpretation

By Janet M Beck and John Laver


This paper explores some conceptual and descriptive parallels between vocal and\ud non-vocal communication, paying particular attention to the physical phenomena\ud and semiotic functions in both speech and gesture. The discussion focuses on\ud the interplay between organic and performance components of speech and\ud gestural behaviour. A central thesis of the paper is that dilemmas of semiotic\ud attribution are likely to arise when a person’s organic state constrains or alters\ud their communicative behaviour, especially if the listener or observer is unaware\ud of that organic state. This thesis is illustrated by a discussion of the changes in\ud communicative behaviour that may result from the physical modifications and\ud movement constraints that are typically associated with old age or with selected\ud disorders of movement. The paper concludes that a more integrated programme\ud of research into comparable descriptive and theoretical concepts would offer a\ud timely and fresh perspective on both speech and gesture, and their semiotic role\ud in conversational interaction.\ud Keywords: Vocal communication, gesture, attribution, organic state\ud Introductio

Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Year: 2004
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