IMAGE SCHEMAS, MIMETIC SCHEMAS AND CHILDREN’S GESTURES
Lund University, Sweden
Mimetic schemas, unlike the popular within cognitive linguistics notion of "image schemas", are assumed to be explicitly representational, bodily structures arising from imitation of (in part) culture-specific practical actions. We performed an analysis of the gestures of three Swedish and three Thai children at 18, 22 and 26 months, with episodes of natural interaction with caregivers and siblings in order to analyze the hypothesis that in particular their iconic gestures emerge as mimetic schemas that are (a) fairly specific, (b) in part culture-specific, (c) coalesce in types, (d) are predominantly "enacted" from a first-person rather than "represented" from a third-person perspective, (e) with the represented gesture being more dependent on direct imitation and (f) more often co-occurring with speech. All spe-cific predictions but the last were confirmed, and differences were found between the children's iconic gestures on the one side, and their deictic and emblematic gestures on the other. Thus, the study confirms both earlier conjectures that mimetic schemas "ground" both gesture and speech, and implies the need to qualify these proposals, limiting the link between mimetic schemas and gestures to the iconic category.
imitation, mimesis, convention, typification, iconic, representation, language
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