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URPP Language and Space

Prof. Dr. Leelo Keevallik




Prof. Dr. Leelo Keevallik

Linköping University

At the boundary between language and the body

I would like to address the question of how the body is involved in sensemaking between participants, interchangeably, and synchronously with grammar, lexis, and vocalizations. By departing from concrete instances of embodied interaction, we can a) document the achievement of intersubjectivity, i.e., how people understand each other within the multimodal ecologies of various local contexts; b) establish what the adequate contribution of language is to this ecology; c) problematize the strict boundary between language and the body, among other things via a focus on affective and pain displays, as well as strain expressions that at least ostensibly originate in non-mental involvements of the body. Furthermore, as many vocalizations have conventionalized meanings in a specific language community, their lexical status is interestingly ambiguous. The materials come from a variety of embodied contexts, including dance classes, manual labor and Pilates training, and the studies have been carried out within the project “Vocal practices of coordinating human action” at Linköping University.