Using a geospatial approach to document and analyse locational points in face-to-face conversation

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This paper presents a geospatial framework for the documentation and analysis of naturally-occurring locational points in interaction. This novel approach aims to provide a set of methods and procedures for interrogating geographically-enriched interactional data. GPS and GIS derived metadata and satellite imagery are brought to bear on video-recorded multiparty interactions to situate pointing gestures within the broader topographic setting, allowing the directionality of points to be determined to within a few degrees. The methods illustrated in this paper primarily aim to assist research on the relationship between language, gesture, and spatial cognition. By examining and comparing naturally-occurring locational points produced by speakers of typologically different languages - namely English, Gija, Murrinhpatha, and Jaru - this paper demonstrates how a geospatial approach may facilitate systematic comparisons of pointing styles across languages, contexts, and cultures, and support investigations into universals of human conduct.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-351
Number of pages39
JournalLanguage Documentation and Description
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

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  • language documentation
  • pointing
  • GIS
  • conversation analysis
  • gesture
  • video analysis


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