Blended Spaces and Deixis in Communicative Activities Involving Persons with Congenital Deafblindness

Jacques Souriau


Persons with congenital deafblindness produce gestures and movements which do not seem to belong to a symbolic system although in many cases, they seem to convey elements of meaning. In order to see to what extent and in which manner they carry meaning, a relevant theoretical framework is necessary. The concept of Real Space Blend, which was worked out by Scott Liddell (2003) in the field of sign languages and describes how elements of the Real Space are used to refer to elements of the Narrative Space, could prove to be effective for that purpose. This article explains the concept of Real Space Blend and explores the possibility to extend it to contexts that do not involve sign language (like spoken productions of seeing-hearing people). Besides, its applicability is tried out on one example of video-analysis drawn from the field of congenital deafblindness using a descriptive method that could be used for further replication, criticism and improvement in the same field. It results from this investigation that the Real Space Blend model could be quite effective for describing how the body is communicatively used by people with congenital deafblindness and relevant for the description of human communication beyond the field of sign language.


communication; language; deixis; congenital deafblindness; Real Space Blend; mental space; gestures

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