Various enterprises and personal interests, such as Man-Machine Interaction (MMI), gesture studies, signs, language, social robotics, healthcare, innovation, music, publications, etc.

Month: April 2007

Second Life Gesture Tutorial

Torley Lives, a Second Life hero and now associated to Linden Lab, created a nice tutorial about gestures in Second Life. If you want to know how it works but are too lazy to find out for yourself how to make gestures in Second Life this should do the trick:

I tried Second Life for a a couple of days myself, but discontinued it. The effort to rise above that feeling of being a rookie seemed to outweigh the fun of it all.

XV Congreso Mundial de la WFD

The World Federation of the Deaf will be hosting their 15th World Congress in July 2007, Madrid.

Logo of the congress

The World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) is an international non-governmental organisation comprising national associations of Deaf people. It watches over the interests of more than 74 million Deaf people worldwide -more than 80% of them live in developing countries. The WFD was founded in 1951, during the First World Congress of the WFD, held in Rome. Such an early date makes the WFD one of the oldest international disability organisations in the world. Currently, the WFD has a membership of 127 national associations from the five continents.

Here is a very nice video with avatars signing what I think is LSE (Lengua de signos o señas española, or Spanish Sign Language). Whoever made these animations did a very good job. Both manual and non-manual features are synthesized quite nicely. The message is about the (apparently succesfull) Spanish candidacy for the 2007 congress.

MPI Lecure on Metonymy in Metaphoric Gestures

The Nijmegen Gesture Centre Lecture Series 2007 hosted a talk by Alan Cienki (currently at the VU Amsterdam as lecturer MA in English Language and Culture) and Cornelia Müller (Berlin Gesture Center) last week. I attended the lecture ‘How metonymic are metaphoric gestures?’ together with about 20 people. The talk and discussion afterwards were perhaps a little incoherent, partly because of most people’s unfamiliarity with the concepts of Metonymy and Metaphor (or was that just me) and particularly why they would be useful for gesture studies. It should also be noted that McNeill (1992) introduced a specific use of the words metaphoric gestures:

Hand and Mind (1992), p145: Metaphoric gestures create images of abstractions [as opposed to (iconic) gestures that exhibit images of events and objects in the concrete world]. In such gestures, abstract content is given form in the imagery of objects, space, movement and the like.

It is crystal clear that there is a whole world of thought (and fun) behind the word Metaphor. Big names Lakoff and Turner wrote brilliant books about it that are the stuff cognitive linguistics is made from. And to cap it all off, Mueller and Cienki lifted a tip of the veil about a hot upcoming book on metaphor in gestures too. It will be all I can do to stop from rushing to my online bookstore (as soon as I find time). We once had a serious young undergraduate student called Michelle Hilscher for a couple of months in our faculty. Then she was doing experiments with metaphor in images and I remember having the same incoherent discussions (from my part at least) about metaphor and iconicity with her as I did at the MPI now. Curiously, she is winning awards, and I am here blogging my PhD away. Time going to waste, I better get back to grooming my paper.

ps. If you can guess how many metaphors this post counts you receive an honorary mentioning.

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