Simon Harrison is Assistant Professor in the Department of English at City University of Hong Kong and author of The Impulse to Gesture: Where language, minds, and bodies intersect (2018, Cambridge University Press).
“Having originally focused on form-based approaches to gesture in spoken discourse (specialising in the expression of negation), my view of gesture increasingly integrates notions from multimodal interaction and embodied cognitive science. This has expanded my analytical unit for gesture and attracted me to analysing more complex domains of social and professional interaction. So while I continue to study recurrent aspects of gesture, my latest studies also include eye-gaze in multiactivity among lifeguards (Text & Talk), gesture in assisted performance during collaborative learning (Lingua), embodied interaction in Chinese real estate showrooms (Metaphor & Symbol).
I am currently involved in two major projects. The Multimodal Corpus of Chinese Academic Written and Spoken English (MuCAWSE) has collected over 24 hours of video-recorded group interaction between students in authentic classrooms of English for Academic Purposes. We are currently processing, transcribing and coding this corpus to run studies of gesture in collaborative discourse and learning. The second major project is a monograph called The Body Language Myth: Understanding gesture in language and communication. This book will scrutinise the global popularity of ‘body language’ and introduce readers to alternative relations between body and language grounded in empirical research instead (i.e. ‘linguistic bodies’ and ‘embodied language’).”