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The role of gesture in the English ish-construction

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Daniel Duncan



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


The English ish-construction, in which ish follows an utterance to indicate hedging, is multimodal. It has a prosodic component (a pause between the utterance and ish), and, as observed in this paper, it is often accompanied by a co-speech gesture such as a shrug. Data from a perception study suggests that unlike prosody, gesture is not a grammatical component of the ish-construction. However, gesture does play a significant role in conveying affect to listeners. I suggest that this use of gesture is a not-at-issue contribution to the utterance, and call for further work uniting the semantics/pragmatics and sociolinguistics of gesture.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Duncan D

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America

Year of Conference: 2019

Pages: 1: 1-12

Print publication date: 15/03/2019

Acceptance date: 23/01/2019

Date deposited: 18/03/2019

ISSN: 2473-8689

Publisher: Linguistic Society of America


DOI: 10.3765/plsa.v4i1.4462