Keevallik: Multimodal noun phrases

Keevallik is publishing an article in a collection of cross-linguistic analysis on noun phrases:
Keevallik, L. 2020. Multimodal noun phrases. In T. Ono & S. Thompson (Eds.), The ‘Noun Phrase’ across Languages: An Emergent Unit in Interaction (pp.153-176). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.


In co-present interaction, our bodies are continuously available for sense-making. Linguists, however, have generally analyzed grammatical patterns, such as noun phrases, separately from the rest of human behavior. This chapter looks at a collection of cases in Swedish, English, and Estonian, where the speaker initiates a noun phrase but completes it with an embodied demonstration. Other participants treat this multimodal structure as complete and comprehensible. Building on earlier research on syntactic-bodily units (Keevallik 2013, 2017) this study calls into question the analytic boundary between language and the body and argues that grammatical projection cross-cuts modalities even within the assumedly robust “noun phrase”.

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