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


Perspectives on Pantomime

New chapter just came out

Müller, Cornelia (2024). Gestural mimesis as ‚as-if‘ action. In: Żywiczyński, Przemysław, Johan Blomberg and Monika Boruta-Żywiczyńska (eds.), Perspectives on Pantomime, 217-241. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. The chapter provides theoretical, empirical and methodological arguments for thinking of gestural mimesis as as-if action and for a continuum from practical actions to as-if actions. It suggests that thinking and acting by hand is anchored in the embodied practice of miming as an as-if action and advances an understanding of gestures as mimetic expressive movements.

Read more

VCGMS starts new international lecture series

This spring the Viadrina Center for Gesture and Multimodality Studies starts a new international lecture series. Ryan Lepic, PhD (Gallaudet University, Washington, USA) and Corinne Occhino, PhD (University of Texas, Austin, USA) kicked off the event with a talk on American Sign Language. More events will soon be announced.

Read more
The Oxford Handbook of Metaphor in Organization studies

New chapter published in book on Business and Management

Müller, Cornelia (2024). Dead and Alive, Sleeping and Waking Metaphors: The Spectrum of Metaphor and the Multimodality of Discours. In: Anders Örtenblad (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Metaphor in Organization Studies, 70-84. Oxford: Oxford University Press. This chapter reconsiders the spectrum of metaphor as it has been conceived by historical metaphor theories in rhetoric, literature, phraseology, lexicology, and historical linguistics, and more recently by applied linguistic and cognitive theories of metaphor. It offers a reflection on metaphors as dead and alive, sleeping and waking, and invites the reader to consider the creativity of metaphor in the mundane forms of language usage.

Read more

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.

Read more


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

Read more


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

Read more

Viadrina Center for Gesture and Multimodality Studies

Center for Linguistic Gesture and Multimodality Research

Read more