Interactional finger pointing in Norwegian Sign Language
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Description: Interlocutors participating in conversation collaborate with each other to coordinate their actions and talk. Research on spoken language conversations has shown that speakers use bodily gestures, in addition to speech, to regulate their interaction. The current study expands on this research by investigating how signed language users use of finger pointing actions to express interactional meanings. Studies of pointing in signed languages have largely focused on referential functions, as signers frequently point to refer themselves and others, as well as visible and invisible referents. However, this study demonstrates how signers also use manual pointing actions to deliver information, cite previous contributions, seek responses, manage turns, and give feedback. It is argued that these interactional meanings are as important as identifying discourse referents. By investigating the language of conversation, there is a potential to include more complexity in language theory and to accommodate the interplay between different types of semiosis (description, depiction, indexicality) in an inclusive, systematic way.
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