How to prepare the video component of the Diachronic Corpus of Political Speeches for multimodal analysis

Keywords: DCPS, multimodal political discourse analys, gesture studies


The Diachronic Corpus of Political Speeches (DCPS) is a collection of 1500 full-length political speeches in English. It includes speeches delivered worldwide by English-speaking politicians in various settings, between 1545 and 2013. Enriched with semi-automatic morphosyntactic annotations and with discourse-pragmatic manual annotations, the DCPS is designed to achieve maximum representativeness and balance, preserve detailed metadata, and enable corpus-based studies of syntactic, semantic and discourse-pragmatic variation and change on political corpora.

For speeches given from 1950 on, video-recordings of the original delivery are often retrievable online. This opens up avenues of research in multimodal linguistics, in which studies on the integration of speech and gesture in the construction of meaning can include analyses of recurrent gestures and of multimodal constructions. This article discusses the issues at stake in preparing the video-recorded component of the DCPS for linguistic multimodal analysis, namely the exploitability of recordings, the segmentation and alignment of transcriptions, the annotation of gesture forms and functions in the software ELAN and the quantity of available gesture data.


Download data is not yet available.


Metrics Loading ...


Allwood, Jens, Loredana Cerrato, Kristiina Jokinen, Constanza Navarretta and Patrizia Paggio. 2005. The MUMIN annotation scheme for feedback, turn management and sequencing. Proceedings of the 2nd Nordic Conference on Multimodal Communication. Gothenburg, Sweden. (28 June, 2021.)

Battison, Robin 1974. Phonological deletion in American sign language. Sign Language Studies 5: 1–19.

Bavelas, Janet Bavelas, Nicole Chovil, Douglas A. Lawrie and Allan Wade. 1992. Interactive gestures. Discourse Processes 15/4: 469–489.

Bigi, Brigitte. 2012. SPPAS: A tool for the phonetic segmentation of speech. In Calzolari, Nicoletta, Khalid Choukri, Thierry Declerck, Sara Goggi, Marko Grobelnik, Bente Maegaard, Joseph Mariani, Helene Mazo, Asunción Moreno, Jan Odijk and Stelios Piperidis eds. Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation, LREC 2012. Istanbul: European Language Resources Association, 1748–1755.

Bigi, Brigitte and Daniel Hirst. 2012. SPeech Phonetization Alignement and Syllabification (SPPAS): A tool for the automatic analysis of speech prosody. In Qiuwu Ma, Hongwei Ding and Daniel Hirst eds. Proceedings of 6th Speech Prosody International Conference. Shanghai: Tongji University Press, 19–22.

Boersma, Paul and David Weenink. 2017. Praat: Doing Phonetics by Computer. Computer Program. Version 6.0.28.

Boutet, Dominique. 2008. Une morphologie de la gestualité: Structuration articulaire. Cahiers de Linguistique Analogique 5: 81–115.

Bressem, Jana, Silva H. Ladewig and Cornelia Müller. 2013. Linguistic Annotation System for Gestures (LASG). In Cornelia Müller et al. eds., 1098–1125.

Chafe, Wallace. 1994. Discourse, Consciousness and Time: The Flow and Displacement of Conscious Experience in Speaking and Writing. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Cienki, Alan. 2009. Spoken language framing in political discourse. Presentation at the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR). Workshop Studying the Political through Frame Analysis, 14–19 April 2009. Lisbon: Portugal.

Cienki, Alan. 2017. Language as a prototype category. In Alan Cienki ed. Ten Lectures on Spoken Language and Gesture from the Perspective of Cognitive Linguistics: Issues of Dynamicity and Multimodality. Leiden: Brill, 163–182.

Cienki, Alan and Gianluca Giansante. 2014. Conversational framing in televised political discourse: A comparison from the 2008 elections in the United States and Italy. Journal of Language and Politics 13/2: 255–288.

Debras, Camille. 2017. The shrug: Forms and functions of a compound enactment. Gesture 16/1: 1–34.

Debras, Camille and Émilie L’Hôte. 2015. Framing, metaphor and dialogue – A multimodal approach to party conference speeches. Metaphor and the Social World 5/2: 177–204.

Desagulier, Guillaume. 2017. Corpus Linguistics and Statistics with R. Introduction to Quantitative Methods in Linguistics. New York: Springer.

Ekman, Paul and Erika Rosenberg eds. 1997. What the Face Reveals. Basic and Applied Studies of Spontaneous Expression Using the Facial Action Coding System (FACS). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Ekman, Paul, Wallace V. Friesen and Joseph C. Hager. 2002. Facial Action Coding System. Salt Lake City: Research Nexus.

Ferré, Gaëlle. 2011. Functions of three open-palm hand gestures. Multimodal Communication 1/1: 5–20.

Ferré, Gaëlle. 2019. Analyse de Discours Multimodale. Gestualité et Prosodie en Discours. Grenoble: Éditions de l’Université Grenoble Alpes.

Goodwin, Charles and Marjorie Harness Goodwin. 1992. Assessments and the construction of context. In Alessandro Duranti and Charles Goodwin eds. Rethinking Context. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 147–190.

Heritage, John and David Greatbatch. 1986. Generating applause: A study of rhetoric and response at party political conferences. American Journal of Sociology 92/1: 110–157.

Halliday, Michael Alexander Kirkwood. 1967. Intonation and Grammar in British English. The Hague: Mouton de Gruyter.

Kendon, Adam. 1986. Some reasons for studying gesture. Semiotica 62/1–2: 3–28.

Kendon, Adam. 2000. Language and gesture: Unity or duality? In David McNeill ed., Language and Gesture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 47–63.

Kendon, Adam. 2002. Some uses of the head shake. Gesture 2/2: 147–182.

Kendon, Adam. 2004. Gesture: Visible Action as Utterance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Koiso, Hanae, Yasuo Horiuchi, Akira Ichikawa and Yasuharu Den. 1998. An analysis of turn-taking and backchannels based on prosodic and syntactic features in Japanese map task dialogs. Language and Speech 41/3–4: 295–321.

Ladewig, Silva H. 2014. Recurrent gestures. In Cornelia Müller et al. eds., 1558–1574.

Lelandais, Manon and Gaëlle Ferré. 2019. The verbal, vocal and gestural expression of (in)dependency in two types of subordinate constructions. Journal of Corpora and Discourse Studies 2: 117–143.

MacWhinney, Brian. 2000. The CHILDES Project: Tools for Analyzing Talk. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Mankiewicz, Josh. 2006. For Politicians, the Gesture’s the Thing. (28 June, 2021.)

McClave, Evelyn. 2000. Linguistic functions of head movements in the context of speech. Journal of Pragmatics 32/7: 855–878.

McHugh, Mary L. 2012. Interrater reliability: The kappa statistic. Biochemia Medica 22/3: 276–282.

McNeill, David. 1992. Hand and Mind. What Gestures Reveal about Thought. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

McNeill, David, Justine Cassell and Elena Levy. 1993. Abstract deixis. Semiotica 1/2: 5–19.

Mondada, Lorenza. 2009. Video recording practices and the reflexive constitution of the interactional order: some systematic uses of the split-screen technique. Human Studies 32/1: 67–99.

Mondada, Lorenza. 2016. Multimodal resources and the organization of social interaction. In Andrea Rocci and Louis de Saussure eds. Verbal Communication. Berlin: De Gruyter, 329–350.

Müller, Cornelia. 2004. Forms and uses of the palm up open hand: A case of a gesture family? In Cornelia Müller and Roland Posner eds., The Semantics and Pragmatics of Everyday Gestures. Berlin: Weidler Buchverlag, 233–256.

Müller, Cornelia. 2014. Gestural modes of representation as techniques of depiction. In Cornelia Müller et al. eds., 1687–1701.

Müller, Cornelia, Jana Bressem and Silva H. Ladewig. 2014. Towards a grammar of gestures: A form-based view. In Cornelia Müller et al. eds., 707–732.

Müller, Cornelia, Silva H. Ladewig and Jana Bressem. 2013. Gesture and speech from a linguistic perspective: A new field and its history. In Cornelia Müller et al. eds., 55–81.

Müller, Cornelia, Alan Cienki, Ellen Fricke, Silva H. Ladewig, David McNeill and Sedinha Teßendorf eds. 2013. Body – Language – Communication Vol. 1. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

Müller, Cornelia, Alan Cienki, Ellen Fricke, Silva H. Ladewig, David McNeill and Sedinha Teßendorf eds. 2014. Body – Language – Communication Vol. 2. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

Norris, Sigrid. 2004. Analyzing Multimodal Interaction: A Methodological Framework. New York: Routledge.

Pierrehumbert, Janet and Julia Hirschberg. 1990. The meaning of intonational contours in the interpretation of discourse. In Philip R. Cohen, Jerry Morgan and Martha E. Pollack eds. Intentions in Communication. Cambridge: MIT Press, 271–311.

Rossette-Crake, Fiona. 2019. Public Speaking and the New Oratory: A Guide for Non-native Speakers. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Sacks, Harvey and Emanuel A. Schegloff. 2002. Home position. Gesture 2/2: 133–146.

Schegloff, Emanuel A. 1984. On some gestures’ relation to talk. In J. Maxwell Atkinson and John Heritage eds. Structures of Social Action. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 266–296.

Schmid, Helmut. 1994. Probabilistic part-of-speech tagging using decision trees. Proceedings of the International Conference on New Methods in Language Processing. Manchester, United Kingdom. (28 June, 2021.)

Sloetjes, Hans and Peter Wittenburg. 2008. Annotation by category – ELAN and ISO DCR. In Nicoletta Calzolari, Khalid Choukri, Bente Maegaard, Joseph Mariani, Jan Odijk and Daniel Tapias eds. Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation, LREC 2008. Marrakech: European Language Resources Association, 816–820.

Stam, Gale and Mika Ishino eds. 2011. Integrating Gestures: The Interdisciplinary Nature of Gesture. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Steen, Francis and Mark Turner. 2013. Multimodal Construction Grammar. In Mike Borkent, Barbara Dancygier and Jennifer Hinnell eds. Language and the Creative Mind. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 255–274.

Stelma, Juurd H. and Lynne J. Cameron. 2007. Intonation units in spoken interaction: Developing transcription skills. Text and Talk 27/3: 361–393.

Stokoe, William. 1960. Sign Language Structure. Buffalo: Buffalo University Press.

Streeck, Jürgen. 2008. Gesture in political communication: A case study of the democratic presidential candidates during the 2004 primary campaign. Research on Language and Social Interaction 41/2: 154–186.

Szczepek Reed, Beatrice. 2011. Units of interaction: ‘Intonation phrases’ or ‘turn constructional phrases’? In Hi-Yon Yoo and Élisabeth Delais-Roussarie eds. Proceedings of the International Conference on Prosody-Discourse Interface, 351–363.

Waller, Bridget and Marcia Pasqualini. 2013. Analysing facial expression using Facial Action Coding Systems (FACS). In Cornelia Müller et al. eds., 917–931.

Wehling, Elisabeth. 2009. Argument is gesture war. Function, form and prosody of discourse structuring gestures in political argument, Proceedings of the 35th Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society: 54–65.

Wells, John C. 2006. English Intonation: An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Zima, Elisabeth and Alexander Bergs eds. 2017. Special issue: Towards a multimodal construction grammar. Linguistic Vanguard 3/1.

How to Cite
Debras, C. (2021). How to prepare the video component of the Diachronic Corpus of Political Speeches for multimodal analysis. Research in Corpus Linguistics, 9(1), 132-151.