Keevallik: Linguistic structures emerging in synchronization in Pilates classes

Keevallik is publishing an article in a collection on mobility and grammar:

Keevallik, L. 2020. Linguistic structures emerging in the synchronization of a Pilates class. In C. Taleghani-Nikazm, E. Betz & P. Golato (Eds.), Mobilizing Others: Grammar and Lexis within Larger Activities (pp.147-173). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.


This chapter targets grammar in the interactive process between a Pilates teacher and the exercising students, an activity context in which instruction and compliance can be designed to merge in time. It shows how linguistic structure, such as counts, formula, and phrases, emerges step-by-step sensitively to the others’ currently moving bodies. At the same time, the situation-designed structures direct the students through the partially known moves. In contrast to formal theories that consider grammar as a device for coherent expression of propositions, this study argues that grammatical structure emerges through recurrent use in a specific activity context. The video-recorded data is in Estonian.