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How Given and New Information Shape the Form of Conversational Hand Gestures
Unformatted Document Text:  11 restrictive relative clauses (Haviland & Clark, 1974). Listeners collaborate in the process by using the Given-New Strategy: the listener takes the sentence, breaks it into syntactically defined given and new information, and then attempts to add the new information into memory (Clark, 1992; Haviland & Clark, 1974) . Speakers can also mark verbal information as given or new prosodically, marking information with intonation features (Kess, 1992). For instance, speakers will systematically attenuate given material by lowering pitch or using a weaker stress (Chafe, 1974; Fowler & Housum, 1987) or by making words for given information shorter or unintelligible (Fowler & Housum, 1987; Kess, 1992). Listeners are able to use this prosodic information to facilitate its integration into the discourse as a whole (Fowler & Housum, 1987). Fowler (Fowler, 1988) showed that the shortening of words depends on the presence of the communicative context of meaningful prose. Speakers mark new information by stressing it (Crystal, 1987), or making it more intelligible and recognizable even when abstracted from the context of the utterance (Hunnicutt, 1985). Levy and Fowler (2000) referred to these prosodic features as “levels of energy”. New information is marked by energy peaks: occurrences of gesture, careful production of words, long and transparent referring expressions. Old information is marked by the opposite features: the absence of gesture, reduced articulation of a transparent referring expression, and the choice to use a pronoun (Levy & Fowler, 2000). A previous analysis indicated that the level of common ground that the participants share before the dialogue even begins influences the form of the gestures. However, as participants proceeded in dialogue, they accumulated more common ground, as new information was continuously added to the discourse. The focus for this analysis is how this constantly changing

Authors: Gerwing, Jennifer.
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restrictive relative clauses (Haviland & Clark, 1974). Listeners collaborate in the process by
using the Given-New Strategy: the listener takes the sentence, breaks it into syntactically defined
given and new information, and then attempts to add the new information into memory (Clark,
1992; Haviland & Clark, 1974) .
Speakers can also mark verbal information as given or new prosodically, marking
information with intonation features (Kess, 1992). For instance, speakers will systematically
attenuate given material by lowering pitch or using a weaker stress (Chafe, 1974; Fowler &
Housum, 1987) or by making words for given information shorter or unintelligible (Fowler &
Housum, 1987; Kess, 1992). Listeners are able to use this prosodic information to facilitate its
integration into the discourse as a whole (Fowler & Housum, 1987). Fowler (Fowler, 1988)
showed that the shortening of words depends on the presence of the communicative context of
meaningful prose.
Speakers mark new information by stressing it (Crystal, 1987), or making it more
intelligible and recognizable even when abstracted from the context of the utterance (Hunnicutt,
1985). Levy and Fowler (2000) referred to these prosodic features as “levels of energy”. New
information is marked by energy peaks: occurrences of gesture, careful production of words,
long and transparent referring expressions. Old information is marked by the opposite features:
the absence of gesture, reduced articulation of a transparent referring expression, and the choice
to use a pronoun (Levy & Fowler, 2000).
A previous analysis indicated that the level of common ground that the participants share
before the dialogue even begins influences the form of the gestures. However, as participants
proceeded in dialogue, they accumulated more common ground, as new information was
continuously added to the discourse. The focus for this analysis is how this constantly changing


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