Some uses of the head shake
A context-of-use study is reported of the ‘head shake’. A large number of examples are described and compared, drawn from video recordings of naturally occasioned interactions in the circumstances of everyday life, made in Campania, Italy, central England and the Eastern United States. Eight different kinds of uses for the head shake are illustrated. It is concluded that the head shake is not to be understood simply as the kinesic equivalent of a unit of verbal expression. It appears as an expression in its own right which, furthermore, the speaker uses as a component in the construction of an utterance which, it seems, is so often a multimodal construction in which the different modalities of expression available are deployed by the speaker in the course of building a unit of expression according to the rhetorical needs of the interactive moment.
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