HS More than Words - Analysing Multimodal Communication in American Television



Zeit/Ort n.V.:

  • Do 10:15-11:45, Raum KH 1.013

Voraussetzungen / Organisatorisches

Students are required to give a presentation (20 minutes, or a longer interactive session) and write a term paper (15-20 pages).
Das Hauptseminar Linguistics gehört in folgenden Studiengängen jeweils zu folgenden Modulen:

  • BA English and American Studies: Hauptmodul A

  • Lehramt Englisch an Gymnasien: Hauptmodul L-Gym Linguistics


Although much of traditional linguistic analysis is based exclusively on written
words there is so much more to human communication. We will take a look at intonation,
co-speech gesture, and facial expression and how such features of communication can be
accounted for in linguistic models such as Construction Grammar.
Depending on student interest, questions of variation in pronunciation or short-term
language change can also be studied.
The following topics for presentations are suggestions - the list is by no means complete:


  • Construction Grammar - a basic introduction

  • A typology of hand gestures

  • Multimodal Construction Grammar and multimodal constructions?

  • How to read spectrograms

  • Basic concepts in phonetics and phonology: Word stress, sentence stress, stress shift, rhythm, the principle of rhythmic alternation, intonation, ...

  • Corpus linguistics: basic concepts; representativenes, balance, sampling, ...

  • The use of framing in politics borderline between theory and analysis
    • ELAN

    • Praat

    • Gesture and word frequency

    • Co-speech gestures in German and English - a contrastive perspective

    • Differences between male and female speech

    • Intonation and meaning

    • A multimodal analysis of irony and/or sarcasm

    • Time line gestures

    • Pronunciation variants: Is the dictionary right?

    • Is it just stress shift? When do speakers say thirTEEN and when THIRteen?

    • Does the speech of the weather person change over time?

    • The semantics and pragmatics of air quotes

    • The language of Donald Trump

    • The use of metaphor in political shows across TV networks