23 February – Yao Tong

Yao Tong is a PhD candidate at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (supervisor: Prof. Alan Cienki) who started her PhD in October 2015 after finishing her research master’s in linguistics, also at the VU.

How limits can be pushed: Action, metaphor and gesture

How “big” can a big question be? How can “limits” be pushed? We don’t normally specify such details verbally when we use such expressions. However, try to imagine this: a speaker is gesturing while saying something like she’s pushing the limit. Gesture is capable of visually representing specific source domain information which is not expressed in speech.

My dissertation project aims to investigate how metaphor and gesture interact in contexts and how gestures could depict literal versus metaphorical concepts (e.g., gestures with pull the rope versus with a political expression like pull Clinton to the right).

In this Metaphor Lab Meeting, I am going to present some results from my research master’s thesis, which is a comparative study on referential gestures depicting concrete versus abstract manual actions by speakers of American English. In the second part, I would like to present my initial ideas for my dissertation project, which I plan to complete in the next 4 years. Any input, comments, or critical questions will be fully appreciated.

Potgieterszaal, University Library
Singel 421-427
1012 WP Amsterdam