Last Update: 17 April 2006
Semiotics And Pragmatics Of Gesture, Conversation And Dialogue
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Three symposia organized in 2006 by the Toronto Semiotic Circle address issues relating to gesture, conversation and dialogue. Their common focus is the range of semiotic resources that are involved in multimodal interactions not only between humans but also between humans and machines which have been endowed to some extent with artificial semiotic competence. Chaired by Professor Jack Sidnell (Anthropology, University of Toronto), these symposia are meant to stimulate further research. The abstracts and papers will remain online indefinitely and will be updated whenever their authors want to add new information and bibliographical references. It is possible to communicate directly with the authors by clicking on their names. Other scholars are invited to submit their commentaries or their own papers if they deem them to be relevant to the general theme of these symposia. New material should be submitted to Professor Paul Bouissac.


To communicate with the authors via email click on their names.

Documents are in PDF format


Jack Sidnell (University of Toronto)

Talk and Techne: Images of conversation and the Starbucks service counter
Paul Manning (Anthropology/Champlain College, Trent University )


The Multimodal Organization of Human Action
Charles Goodwin (Appied Linguistics UCLA)

Meaning Machines: Towards Computational Semiotics
Deb Roy (MIT Media Laboratory)

Dialogues of the Dead: Reanimated Interaction in Computer Games
Geoffrey Rockwell (Media Studies, McMaster U.)


Sensuous Signs and Closed Systems: A Communicology of Fundamentalist Codes in Contemporary Culture
Thomas D. Craig (Fellow & Internet Director, International Communicology Institute )

Semiotic Choreology
Maureen Connolly (Brock U.)

Foucault Dialogues with Aristotle: Both Have an Identity Crisis
Richard L. Lanigan (Southern Illinois University)

Translating gestures and dialogue on stage
Domenico Pietropaolo (University of Toronto)


Semiotics And Pragmatics Of Gesture, Conversation And Dialogue

by Jack Sidnell

The papers in this symposium are focused on issues of human interaction. They examine the range of semiotic resources implicated in interaction and address the theoretical, methodological and conceptual issues involved in studying language as a part of interaction. One common theme running through the papers is the role played by the non-human, material environment in human interaction. This includes robots created for the purpose of conversation with humans, computers, tools used in archaeological excavation as well as the semiotic structure provided by the very material surround itself.

When people interact with one another they draw upon a range of semiotic resources. Although, research in this area has largely focused on language and its apparently unique capacity for reference and predication, it is clear that reference and predication are themselves dependent upon a capacity for joint attention as well as a mechanism for creating and sustaining intersubjectivity. Moreover, reference and predication happen in a world in which people speak in order to do things. Reference and predication are, in that sense, tools for social action.


Program in PDF

Information: Paul Bouissac   
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