EIL2019 & LCI-7

EIL2019 & LCI-7 Joint International Symposium:

Embodied Interaction and Linguistics 2019

Language, Cognition, and Interaction 7


Face-to-face interaction in physical environments is the most basic form of language use and should thus be the primary data source for linguistic and interaction studies. Inviting leading scholars of the field from overseas and Japan, this international symposium aims to uncover how people use their bodies and language in various kinds of real-world situations. Since the symposium is also intended to be the opportunity for all participants to share and exchange ideas, anyone interested is welcome to participate.

Invited Talk 1

  • How syntax emerges in embodied interaction
  • Speaker: Leelo Keevallik (Linköping University)
  • Abstract: Language is but one resource of sense-making and action formation. As interacting human beings we cannot merely rely on our earlier experiences of lexicon and grammar, because this abstracted knowledge does not in itself guarantee mutual understanding here and now. A more realistic view on the achievement of intersubjectivity is to be found in the complex interplay between the embodied language, body movements, and the material environment. In this paper I will use data from contexts where bodies are in focus, pilates and dance classes, to show how syntactic structure emerges step-by-step in teacher talk. It does so reflexively to the students’ moving bodies, while it simultaneously directs the students through the partially known moves. The teacher times syntactic coordination, phrasal constructions and occasionally even morphological suffixes to the ongoing physical exercise. In contrast to formal theories that consider grammar as a device of coherent expression of pre-planned propositions, this study argues that syntactic structure emerges as part of practical action across participants and modalities.

Invited Talk 2

  • Interactive coordination of vocalization and movement in “rock-paper-scissors” game to synchronize action
  • Speaker: Hiromichi Hosoma (University of Shiga Prefecture)
  • Abstract: In collaborative work, we often inform the timing of the action each other to accomplish the synchronization of our behavior. Here we describe the collaborative process of “rock-paper-scissors” game where multiple people synchronize their fist movements.15 pairs (24 women, 6 men) participated to play janken without a referee. Results showed that the timing of the motion often deviated in the first half of the janken: all participants used the call “Saisho wa guu (Rock for the first)”, and the up and down direction of movements or the timing of movements were shifted among participants at the beginning of the call. However, participants synchronized their movements within a few strokes by waiting for the stroke of the opponent at the start or the end of the stroke, or by changing the length of the distance of the stroke. In addition, the phoneme structure of the utterances contributed for providing the timing of the waiting to adjust a time frame of these strokes. In all, results suggest that players of janken accomplish the synchrony of their arm movements using the time structure of their utterance and strokes in the early stages of play.

Presentation 1

  • How to instruct the way of seeing and understanding the phenomenon: A case study using multimodal and narrative analyses
  • Speaker: Kaori Hata (Osaka University)
  • Abstract: The paper aims to illustrate how the combination of multimodal and narrative analyses works effectively by examining an interaction between parents and their son in a scientific experiment. In the experiment, I pay attention to how parents as experts attract their son’s attention to the particular way of seeing and understanding a phenomenon by using their bodily movements and verbal instructions. For the purpose of this study, data taken from an episode in the Corpus of Everyday Japanese Conversation, constructed by NINJAL, is analysed. It is a family discourse in which parents instruct their son to complete his science homework. It is observed that the father’s bodily movements, verbal instructions, mother’s peripheral participation roles, the younger brother’s attitude, and parents’ collaborative instructions converge into directing the son to find the specific ways of seeing the phenomenon in the experiment and guide him towards the ‘correct’ answer provided in the textbook. In conclusion, I ague for a narrative analysis in a situated activity.

Presentation 2

  • Instructive bodily demonstrations situated in Karate lessons
  • Speaker: Seiji Nashio (Hiroshima University)
  • Abstract: The purpose of this presentation is to examine interactive bodily instructions in child-oriented Karate lessons through a multimodal analysis. The analysis specifically focuses on episodes of instructive demonstrations. That is, the primacy instructor of the Karate lesson, Shihan, interrupts a group or pair practice to single out the target trainee that requires instruction to correct his/her bodily motions, and demonstrates bodily interaction with other instructors or trainees before the target trainee. The result shows that 1) these interactive demonstrations basically emphasize the importance of practice with conscious awareness of his/her (imaginary) opponent’s motion to the trainee, even during a form practice with no opponent; 2) the demonstrations are interactively organized by the Shihan’s multimodal action, which requires the spontaneous instructions to the partner to perform; and 3) the insertion of the demonstration is successfully accomplished by not only the main participants of the instructive demonstration, but also other trainees and instructors around them, that are conventionally situated in the Karate lesson.