Some notes on research around communication at conferences

Just dumping some links here for future use.

So I’m looking at the ways that other people approach these things, the kinds of things that they look for and how they record them. These are a few examples:

 One of the most complete studies of the genre of conference presentations is that of Räisänen (1999), which situates the conference paper presentation as part of a genre chain. This chain starts with the call for abstracts in a conference and ends either with the oral presentation during the conference or with the publication of the proceedings. This author (1999, p.69) defines conferences as “sites for publishing research results and an open ground for confrontation, discussion, and ratification of meaning”. Conference presentations are meant to provide a forum to promote interaction between scholars. It is also important to note the complexity of conference discourse. Ventola (1999) coined the term ‘semiotic spanning’ to acknowledge the involvement of all modes of communication: written as well as spoken texts, visual materials and actions, among others; they all form a cohesive communication event. She points out that the relationship between all speech events, between the paper presentation and its source materials as well as between the presentation and the final version of the paper, as published in the proceedings, is a relationship of multimodality which has links to the past and to the future. Therefore, approaches that describe this relationship such as intertextuality or genre analysis seem to be too narrow and not enough to portray the nature of this genre.

Even though the very complex nature of conference presentations can be inferred from Ventola’s (1999) statements, up to now the few studies carried out on this genre have focused solely on written texts. One exception is Hood and Forey’s (2005) work on the introductions to plenary lectures at a language testing conference, where they examine the co-expression of attitudinal language and gesture.


As regards kinesics, we followed McNeill’s (1992) classification of gestures which distinguishes four types: iconic when there is a formal relationship with the semantic content of speech, metaphoric when the relationship is pictorial but the gesture presents abstract ideas, beats when the same gesture is used regardless of the content showing the word or phrase as significant, and deictic when the gesture points something concrete or abstract.

Screenshot 2016-04-29 21.28.27

From Multimodal evaluation in academic discussion sessions: How do presenters act and react? (Preprint version)

This volume presents innovative research on the multimodal dimension of discourse specific to academic settings, with a particular focus on the interaction between the verbal and non-verbal in constructing meaning. Contributions by experienced and emerging researchers provide in-depth analyses in both research and teaching contexts, and consider the ways in which multimodal strategies can be leveraged to enhance the effectiveness of academic communication. Contributors employ both quantitative and qualitative analytical methods, and make use of state-of-the-art software for analyzing multimodal features of discourse. The chapters in the first part of the volume focus on the multimodal features of two key research genres: conference presentations and plenary addresses. In the second part, contributors explore the role of multimodality in the classroom through analyses of both instructors’ and students’ speech, as well as the use of multimodal materials for more effective learning. The research presented in this volume is particularly relevant within the context of globalized higher education, where participants represent a wide range of linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Multimodal Analysis in Academic Settings contributes to an emerging field of research with importance to an increasing number of academics and practitioners worldwide. Introduction Inmaculada Fortanet-Gómez and Belinda Crawford Camiciottoli Part I: Research Communications 1. Disagreements in Plenary Addresses as Multimodal Action Zuocheng Zhang 2. Contrastive Multimodal Analysis: Conference Plenary Lectures in English and in Spanish Noelia Ruiz-Madrid and Inmaculada Fortanet-Gómez 3. Intensifying Adverbs in Academic Spoken Discourse: A Contrastive Study between English and Spanish Miguel Ruiz Garrido 4. Visual Communication in Applied Linguistics Conference Presentations Giuliana Diani 5. A Multimodal Approach to Persuasion in Conference Presentations Julia Valeiras Jurado Part II: Classroom Applications 6. There is More to Multimodality than Discourse Features and Nonverbal Behaviors! Christine Räisänen 7. Elaborating Explanations during OpenCourseWare Humanities Lectures: The Interplay of Verbal and Nonverbal Strategies Belinda Crawford Camiciottoli 8. Multimodality in Business Communication: Body Language as a Visual Aid in Student Presentations Juan Carlos Palmer-Silveira 9. Assessing Multimodal Listening Mari Carmen Campoy-Cubillo and Mercedes Querol-Julián 10. Teaching Learners How to Use Pragmatic Routines through Audiovisual Material Silvia Bruti ” Multimodal Analysis in Academic Settings provides another angle on multimodality studies, and brings a little spice into the hitherto rather dry areas of conference presentation and teaching technique.” —Christopher Taylor, University of Trieste, Italy Belinda Crawford Camiciottoli is Associate Professor in the Department of Philology, Literature and Linguistics at the University of Pisa, Italy. Inmaculada Fortanet-Gómez is Senior Lecturer in the Department of English Language at Universitat Jaume I, Spain.

This is particularly about gesture: iconic, pointing to a viewpoint, anticipation of meaning etc.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s