Community, Identity and Interpersonal Resources

  • Patrick Kiernan


The interpersonal metafunction refers to the dimension of language that is concerned most directly with identity. This interpersonal perspective on multimodality describes positionings of self and others. It is also concerned with evaluation and the marking of opinions. In particular, this chapter develops a model of the physical and gestural resources on an interrelated scale from the most general physical positionings provided by the seating arrangement, through body language, the physical negotiation of turn-taking, gesture and eye contact, as well as features such as tone of voice. The examples illustrate how these resources are used to evoke personal and group identities, allegiances and positionings including in relation to the interviewer, and absent teacher.


  1. Argyle, Michael. 1988. Bodily Communication. 2nd ed. London: Methuen.Google Scholar
  2. Beattie, G. 2003. Visible Thought: The New Psychology of Body Language. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  3. Brazil, David. 1995. A Grammar of Speech. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Brockes, Emma. 2018. Me Too Founder Tarana Burge: ‘You Have to Use Your Privilege to Serve Other People.’ The Guardian, Monday, January 15.
  5. Coates, Jennifer. 2001. ‘My Mind Is with You’: Story Sequences in the Talk of Male Friends. Narrative Inquiry 11 (1): 81–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. ———. 2003. Men Talk: Stories in the Making of Masculinities. Malden: Blackwell Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. ———. 2013. Women, Men and Everyday Talk. New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Gentner, Dedre. 2016. Language as a Cognitive Tool Kit: How Language Supports Relational Thought. American Psychologist 71 (8): 650–658.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Goldin-Meadow, Susan. 2003. Hearing Gesture: How Our Hands Help Us to Think. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Goldin-Meadow, Susan, and David McNeill. 2000. The Role of Gesture in Making Language the Province of Speech. In The Descent of the Mind: Psychological Perspectives on Hominid Evolution, ed. Michael Corballis and Stephen E.G. Lea. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Grice, H.P. 1975. Logic and Conversation. In Syntax and Semantics Vol. 3: Speech Acts, ed. Peter Cole and Jerry L. Morgan, 41–58. New York: Academic.Google Scholar
  12. Halliday, M.A.K. 1978. Meaning in the Construction of Reality in Early Childhood. In Modes of Perceiving and Processing Information, ed. Herbert L. Pick and Elliot Saltzman, 67–96. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  13. Halliday, M.A.K., and Christian Matthiessen. 2013. Halliday’s Introduction to Functional Grammar. 4th ed. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  14. Hughes, Authur, Peter Trudgill, and Dominic Watt. 2013. English Accents and Dialects. 5th ed. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  15. Kendon, Adam. 2004. Gesture: Visible Action as Utterance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Knapp, Mark L., and Judith A. Hall. 2006. Nonverbal Communication in Human Interaction. 6th ed. Belmont: Thompson.Google Scholar
  17. Martin, J.R., and Peter R.R. White. 2005. The Language of Evaluation: Appraisal in English. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. McNeil, D. 1992. Hand and Mind: What Gestures Reveal About Thought. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  19. McNeill, David. 2012. How Langauge Began: Gesture and Speech in Human Evolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Norrick, Neal R. 2000. Conversational Narrative: Storytelling in Everyday Talk. In Current Issues in Linguistic Theory, ed. E.F. Konrad Koerner. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Google Scholar
  21. Ochs, Elinor, and Lisa Capps. 2001. Living Narrative: Creating Lives in Everyday Storytelling. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Ochs, Elinor, and Carolyn Taylor. 1992. Family Narrative as Political Activity. Discourse and Society 3 (3): 301–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. ———. 2001. The ‘Father Knows Best’ Dynamic in Dinnertime Narratives. In Teaching Modern Foreign Languages: A Handbook for Teachers, ed. Carol Morgan and Peter Neil, 97–121. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  24. Paivio, Allan. 1991. Images in the Mind: The Evolution of Theory. Hertfordshire: Harvester Wheatsheaf.Google Scholar
  25. Pease, Allan. 1997. Body Language. 3rd ed. Sydney: Camel Publishing.Google Scholar
  26. Sacks, Harvey, Emanuel A. Schegloff, and Gail Jefferson. 1974. A Simplest Systematics for the Organization of Turn-Taking for Conversation. Language 50: 696–735.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Starkey, Duncan, and Donald W. Fiske. 1985. Interactional Structure and Strategy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Takahashi, Kimie. 2010. Multiple Couple Talk: Romance, Identity and the Political Economy of Language. In Language and Culture: Reflective Narratives and the Emergence of Identity, ed. David Nunan and Julie Choi, 199–207. Hong Kong: Routledge.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick Kiernan
    • 1
  1. 1.KenkyutoMeiji UniversityTokyoJapan

Personalised recommendations