Language Use and Multimodal Communication - Prof. Dr. Cornelia Müller

Chair of Language Use and Multimodal Communication

We welcome you to study with us how gesture, language and audiovisual media work.

With the ring gesture Obama expresses the preciseness of the points he is making. The meaning of the gesture is an embodied meaning, it is derived from the practical action of picking up small objects. In our team, we investigate how gestures mean, how they are used with spoken language and how their perception is shaped by their orchestration in audiovisual media. Currently, we investigate how body movement and speech work together to express affective stance (multimodality of speaking) and how the audiovisual staging of those speakers creates an affective experience for the viewers (audiovisual multimodality). We study affective stance in German and Polish parliamentary debates. Moreover, we work on a textbook on Gesture and Language. This includes a cross-disciplinary account of how gestures work as a bodily mode of expression, the integration of gestures in multimodal utterances and multimodal interaction, an overview of the field of gesture studies and various methods of gesture analysis.

Obama Zeichnung Ringgeste



Italians really gesture more

During her insightful talk hosted by the Viadrina Center for Gesture and Multimodality Studies, Dr. Maria Graziano (University of Lund) presented results from her recent research on different rhetorical styles though different gesture production including evidence from Italian and Swedish narratives collected during an experiment with native speakers from both countries.

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"Taylor Swift und die alten weißen Männer"

How do old white men talk about one of the greatest phenomenon of today’s pop culture, the singer-songwriter Taylor Swift? Prof. Dr. Jörn Glasenapp (University of Bamberg) spoke about and discussed this in his guest lecture. Being himself a committed Swifty, he shared his research on Taylor as a pop culture phenomenon in front of a really crowded audience. The guest lecture was organized within a cooperation by Prof. Dr. Daniel Illger (Chair of Popular Cultures) and Prof. Dr. Cornelia Müller (Chair of Language Use and Multimodal Communication).

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Multimodal Stance Meeting in Poznań

After the pandemic break the team of the Chair of Language Use and Multimodal Communication finally reunited with the AMU team of the Department of Multimodal Communication at the Institute of Applied Linguistics in Poznan for collaborating on their joint publication based on the binational project "Multimodal Stancetaking: Expressive Movement and Affective Stance. Political Debates in the German Bundestag and Polish Sejm".

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Prof. Dr. Cornelia Müller

Secretary Office
Iris Franke
Auditorium maximum (AM)
Logenstraße 4
Room 133
+49 (0) 335 5534 2741

Mailing Adress
Europa-Universität Viadrina
Fakultät für Kulturwissenschaften
Große Scharrnstr. 59
15230 Frankfurt (Oder)

Professor of Language Use and Multimodal Communication

Cornelia Müller works on multimodal forms of language use, focusing on embodied, affective, and dynamic processes of meaning making in gestures and in audio-visual media. She has published on many facets of gesture as a medium of expression and on multimodal metaphor. She has investigated gestural mimesis, emergent proto-linguistic gestural forms (sedimentation, conventionalization) and developed Methods for Gesture, Film and Metaphor Analysis. Together with Adam Kendon she has launched and co-edited the international journal GESTURE and the book series GESTURE Studies (Benjamins) from 2000 to 2010. With Hermann Kappelhoff, she has developed a transdisciplinary (film studies and linguistic) approach to the experiential and affective dynamics of metaphorical meaning in speech, gestures, and audiovisual media.

Her most recent publications include:

Müller, C. (2024). Dead and Alive, Sleeping and Waking Metaphors: The Spectrum of Metaphor and the Multimodality of Discourse. In: Anders Örtenblad (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Metaphor in Organization Studies. Oxford: Univ. Press.

Müller, C. (2024). Gestural mimesis as ‚as-if‘ action. In: Przemysław Zywiczynski, Johan Blomberg and Monika Boruta-Zywiczynska (eds.) Perspectives on Pantomime. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Müller C. (2023). Language from the Body – Dynamic relations between gestures and signed language. In: Terry Janzen and Barbara Shaffer (eds.), Signed Language and Gesture Research in Cognitive Linguistics, XIII-XVI. De Gruyter Mouton.

Müller, C. (2022). Obituary, Adam Kendon 1934-2022. In: Gesture 21, 2/3, 157-166.

Cornelia Müller ZeM Springlecture2019


Language Use and Multimodal Communication

Picture (from left to right): Teresa Weigand, Clara Kindler-Mathôt, Iris Franke, Jeanette-Christine Bauer, Jana Katharina Junge, Cornelia Müller

Team Sprachgebrauch und Multimodale Kommunikation

Research projects

Research Projects

Current and former projects.

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Overview of current and past courses as well as an outlook for the coming semesters as soon as available.

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Current and former PhD theses as well as visiting international doctoral students

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Viadrina Center for Gesture and Multimodality Studies

Center for Linguistic Gesture and Multimodality Research

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