Linn-Marlen Rekittke

Lehr- und Forschungsgebiet Linguistik und kognitive Semiotik



In 2012, I completed my Master’s degree in Communication Studies, Sociology and Economics at RWTH Aachen University. The structuring of thoughts and discourse processes through spontaneous co-verbal gestures fascinated me the most during my graduate studies. This particular interest and an extended research stay in Uganda in 2011 motivated me to write my M.A. thesis on gesture and taboo, investigating the rhetorical figures and multimodal discourse strategies speakers employed when retelling an Ugandan short film in English and Luganda.

The NeuroPeirce project, which takes a neuroscientific approach to semiotics and gesture studies, gives me the opportunity to also pursue my interest in brain structures, their different functions and interaction. As part of my dissertation work I develop a set of gestural modes of communication that reflect Peirce’s universal categories firstness, secondness and thirdness. In our interdisciplinary team, we will then empirically test whether these categories, as exhibited in different kinds of gestures, may correlate with activation patterns in the human brain (see also Dhana Wolf’s page). To investigate how the interpretation of co-verbal gestures is represented in the brain, we will create gesture videos and motion-capture sequences in the Natural Media Lab, to be used as stimuli for neuro-imaging studies at the University Hospital Aachen.

Research interests

  • Discourse pragmatics of coverbal gestures
  • Cognitive linguistics/ cognitive semiotics (e.g. image schemata)
  • Neuro-cognitive representation of gesture functions
  • Intercultural studies, multilingualism


2012 M.A. Communication Studies, Sociology & Economics, RWTH Aachen University. Thesis: “Gesture and Taboo: Multimodal and figurative discourse strategies in narrations in English and Luganda", RWTH Aachen University. Advisor: Prof. Irene Mittelberg.


German, English, Spanish, some Chinese and Russian.


Rekittke, L.-M. (2017) Viewpoint and stance in gesture: How a potential taboo topic may influence gestural viewpoint in recounting films. Journal of Pragmatics, 122. 50-64.

Wolf, D., Rekittke, L.-M., Mittelberg, I., Klasen, M., Mathiak, K. (2017) Perceived conventionality in co-speech gestures activates the language networks. Frontiers of Human Neuroscience.