My dissertation project explores how language shapes, and is shaped by culture, following a multi-disciplinary approach that brings together sociolinguistics, gesture studies, intercultural pragmatics, and linguistic anthropology to study linguistic practices among Afro-Surinamese communities. More specifically, the project focuses on flexible multilingualism and multimodal resources by exploring gesture-speech synchronisations in impolite discourse contexts. One aim of the research is to shed light on the visual gesture of Cut-Eye and the multimodal pragmatic marker of Kiss-teeth, two non-verbal forms of communication which are commonly used in African and Black diasporic communities.
In order to examine the interplay of these gestural forms and multilingual speech, this research will investigate the gestures’ functions in diglossic interactions, combining ethnography, elicitation tasks and analysis of video recordings. By using a corpus-based discourse analytical approach, the cross-cultural comparative study aims to generate spontaneous and comparable data that considers the multimodal, interactional and communicative aspects of plurilingual practices. The project is under the supervision of Professor Susanne Mohr (NTNU, Department of Language and Literature) and Prof. Susanne Mühleisen (University of Bayreuth).