Irene Mittelberg: Immersion and Viewpoint in Descriptions of Imagined Spaces

Montag, 25.06.2018, 18.00 Uhr

in H11, C.A.R.L.


Viewpoint has been shown to be a powerful construal mechanism in multimodal spoken and signed discourse, as well as in various other modalities (e.g., Dancygier and Sweetser 2012; Dudis 2004; Parrill 2009; Stec 2013). This paper investigates embodied viewpoint strategies that have been observed when speakers combine speech, gestures, postures, gaze, and simulated action to describe their interaction with spatial artifacts such as gallery buildings, architectural models, and paintings (Mittelberg 2013, 2017).

‘Simulated artifact immersion’ is introduced as a multimodal viewpoint strategy whereby speakers submerge into their mental representation of a spatial artifact by perceiving and experiencing it from an internal vantage point (Mittelberg 2017). It is argued that this viewpoint strategy tends to be employed when there is no narrative structure for the speakers to fall back on.

The talk’s aim is twofold: a) to propose that when speakers talk about their own experiences with spatial artifacts, distinguishing between immersed and non-immersed Experiential Viewpoint strategies (e.g., Sweetser 2013) may be more fitting than distinguishing between Character and Observer Viewpoint (e.g., McNeill 1992); and b) to discuss how considering the interaction of iconic, indexical, and metonymic principles in gesture (Mittelberg and Waugh 2014) may elucidate multimodal viewpoint phenomena in general.