Multi-modal meaning An empirically-founded process algebra approach
Main Article Content
Humans communicate with different modalities. We offer an account of multi-modal meaning coordination, taking speech-gesture meaning coordination as a prototypical case. We argue that temporal synchrony (plus prosody) does not determine how to coordinate speech meaning and gesture meaning. Challenging cases are asynchrony and broadcasting cases, which are illustrated with empirical data. We propose that a process algebra account satisfies the desiderata. It models gesture and speech as independent but concurrent processes that can communicate flexibly with each other and exchange the same information more than once. The account utilizes the ψ-calculus, allowing for agents, input-output-channels, concurrent processes, and data transport of typed λ-terms. A multi-modal meaning is produced integrating speech meaning and gesture meaning into one semantic package. Two cases of meaning coordination are handled in some detail: the asynchrony between gesture and speech, and the broadcasting of gesture meaning across several dialogue contributions. This account can be generalized to other cases of multi-modal meaning.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
Articles appearing in Semantics and Pragmatics are published under an author agreement with the Linguistic Society of America and are made available to readers under a Creative Commons Attribution License.