Body knowledge. Multimodal practices of instructing corporeal-performative knowledge in interaction
- Oliver Ehmer
- Guadalupe Acosta
- Ludmila Novotny
In the introduction to the special issue on ‘Instructing embodied knowledge’, we present a general orientation into this growing field of research, providing the relevant background for the individual contributions. The starting point for the endeavor is the basic observation that practical knowledge or ‘knowing-how’ is typically of a procedural, implicit and embodied nature rather than explicit-conceptual. Given this specific nature, we highlight the fact that for transmitting this type of knowledge, instructors make use of specific multimodal practices that are adjusted to these characteristics. The notion of instructional practice furthermore emphasizes that instructing embodied knowledge is a highly collaborative process between learners and their instructors. In order to provide a broad take on the phenomenon, we review both social-interactional as well as cognitive approaches to embodied knowledge and discuss how the procedural and intercorporeal nature of this knowledge may challenge different views. Independent of the specific approach that is chosen, any account of the construction/instruction of embodied knowledge should emphasize that it is essentially (i) a social activity, (ii) involving the deployment of different semiotic resources, and (iii) using different techniques and devices, such as descriptions, directives and demonstrations. Based on a review of the literature and on the papers in the special issue, we identify a set of key questions that may help to shape the agenda for future studies in the field. The questions relate to the temporal-sequential organization of instructions, the continuum between demonstrations and performances, and the relationship between perceptual access, sensation and the acquisition of embodied knowledge.
The Aligned Corpus Toolkit (act) is designed for linguists that work with time aligned transcription data. It offers functions to import and export various annotation file formats ('ELAN' .eaf, 'EXMARaLDA .exb and 'Praat' .TextGrid files), create print transcripts in the style of conversation analysis, search transcripts (span searches across multiple annotations, search in normalized annotations, make concordances etc.), export and re-import search results (.csv and 'Excel' .xlsx format), create cuts for the search results (print transcripts, audio/video cuts using 'FFmpeg' and video sub titles in 'Subrib title' .srt format), modify the data in a corpus (search/replace, delete, filter etc.), interact with 'Praat' using 'Praat'-scripts, and exchange data with the 'rPraat' package. The package is itself written in R and may be expanded by other users.
Demonstrations are a central resource for instructing body knowledge. They allow instructors to provide learners with a structured perceptual access to the performance of an activity. The pre-sent paper considers demonstrations as inherently social activities, in which not only the instruc-tor but also the learners may participate. A particular form of co-participation is that learners synchronize their own bodily actions with the demonstration of the instructor. The paper exam-ines two practices of synchronization in demonstrations. In emergent synchronizations the in-structor invites the student(s) to synchronize, rather than request them to do so. In orchestrated synchronizations teachers actively pursue the students’ bodily synchronization. The two practic-es are typically used for different instructional purposes. While emergent synchronizations are prototypically used in corrective instructions, orchestrated synchronizations are typically used to instruct new knowledge. Based on a large corpus of instructions in dancing Argentine Tango, the paper uses multimodal interaction analysis to characterize both practices regarding their interac-tional organization, their functional properties and the resources used by the participants to es-tablish synchronization.