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When the body belies the words: embodied agency with darf/kann ich? (“may/can I?”) in German

  • Research on multimodal interaction has shown that simultaneity of embodied behavior and talk is constitutive for social action. In this study, we demonstrate different temporal relationships between verbal and embodied actions. We focus on uses of German darf/kann ich? (“may/can I?”) in which speakers initiate, or even complete the embodied action that is addressed by the turn before the recipient’s response. We argue that through such embodied conduct, the speaker bodily enacts high agency, which is at odds with the low deontic stance they express through their darf/kann ich?-TCUs. In doing so, speakers presuppose that the intersubjective permissibility of the action is highly probable or even certain. Moreover, we demonstrate how the speaker’s embodied action, joint perceptual salience of referents, and the projectability of the action addressed with darf/kann ich? allow for a lean syntactic design of darf/kann ich?-TCUs (i.e., pronominalization, object omission, and main verb omission). Our findings underscore the reflexive relationship between lean syntax, sequential organization and multimodal conduct.

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Author:Arnulf DeppermannORCiDGND, Alexandra GubinaORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):Frontiers in Communication
Publisher:Frontiers Media SA
Place of publication:Lausanne
Document Type:Article
Year of first Publication:2021
Date of Publication (online):2021/06/09
Tag:agency; conversation analysis; interactional linguistics; intersubjectivity; lean syntax; multimodal interaction; projection; request
GND Keyword:Deutsch; Interaktion; Intersubjektivität; Konversationsanalyse; Körpersprache; Nichtverbale Kommunikation; Syntax
Page Number:16
Dieser Beitrag wurde mit Mitteln des Publikationsfonds für Artikel in Open-Access-Zeitschriften der Leibniz-Gemeinschaft gefördert.
DDC classes:400 Sprache / 400 Sprache, Linguistik
Open Access?:ja
Leibniz-Classification:Sprache, Linguistik
Linguistics-Classification:Nonverbale Kommunikation
Linguistics-Classification:Pragmalinguistik / Kommunikationsforschung
Program areas:P1: Interaktion
Licence (English):License LogoCreative Commons - Attribution 4.0 International