Prof. Dr. Irene Mittelberg
Winter term 2010/2011
Research colloquium

Empirical Research into Natural Media: Interdisciplinary Perspectives

This colloquium acquaints participants with empirical research being conducted within the Natural Media & Engineering group (HumTec).

In this context, the term ‘natural media’ denotes any immediate means of expression that humans use to communicate with one another about objects, events, feelings, thoughts, and attitudes. Natural media include spoken and signed languages, coverbal gestures, eye gaze, body posture, and facial expressions. Our focus this semester is on the interplay between speech and gesture, and on sign languages.

The main strands of research the colloquium will cover include natural media and clinical neuroscience, conceptual semantics, human computer interaction, communication, and semiotics. The international researchers who lead the seminars form an interdisciplinary team with various backgrounds and offer different perspectives on language, gesture, and the brain. In addition to focused presentations of their ongoing research, each seminar will draw attention to problematic aspects of research methodology and engage participants in hands on training in data collection,transcription, andanalysis.

Students willing to fulfill reading requirements, present their MA/Mag- projects, and participate actively in the discussions may enroll for this course and receive credit.Participants are invited to explore specific aspects in detail, present alternative approaches, do sample analyses of multimodal data of their choosing, and present work in progress.


  • Cienki, Alan & Cornelia Müller (eds.) (2008). Metaphor and Gesture. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

  • Gibbs, R. (2005). Embodiment and Cognitive Science. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.

  • Gonzalez-Marquez, M., Mittelberg, I., Coulson, S. & M. Spivey (Eds.) (2007). Methods in Cognitive Linguistics. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

  • Kendon, A. (2004) Gesture. Visible bodily action as utterance. Cambridge University Press.

  • McNeill, David (2005). Gesture and Thought. Chicago: Chicago University Press.

  • Streeck, J. (2009).Gesturecraft. The manu-facture of meaning. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

  • Talmy, L. (2000). Toward a Cognitive Semantics. Vol I, II. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

  • Taub, S. (2001). Language from the Body: Iconicity and Metaphor in American Sign Language. Cambridge University Press.

Further information: CAMPUS; e-learning Portal.