I am currently a Killam postdoctoral research fellow at UBC. I completed my MA at Simon Fraser University and my PhD at the University of Alberta, where I was awarded the 2020 Governor General’s Gold Medal for my doctoral research. As a cognitive linguist, my research applies corpus linguistic (text and multimedia), motion capture, and experimental methods to the investigation of language, in particular the co-expression of grammatical and conceptual notions in speech and co-speech gesture, and multimodal discourse processes. Recent publications include a study on the power of gesture in helping resolve ambiguous statements of opinion (Language and Cognition, Frontiers in Psychology), investigating contrast from a cognitive and embodied perspective (The American Journal of Semiotics), the kinesic marking of grammatical and lexical aspect in North American English (Cognitive Linguistics) and studies on automated gesture recognition (International Journal of Semantic Computing, Digital Humanities Quarterly).
As a Killam postdoctoral fellow working with Dr. Barbara Dancygier, I am investigating the range of linguistic, gestural, and other multimodal cues speakers use to build their subjective ‘stance’, such as how they express their beliefs or negate or reject other people’s beliefs. I work with large databases of text and multimodal language (e.g., as a member of the Red Hen Lab), with 3D motion capture data (with the HumTec Centre at RWTH Aachen), and experimental methods. I also enjoy collaborating and have recently enjoyed becoming involved in projects investigating conventionalized gestures in Indigenous languages as part of language documentation and revitalization. I’m also interested in applying research findings to technical and social problems, including the improvement of human-avatar communication systems, procedural generation of dialogue in video games, and in clinical applications.
I specialize in the study of natural discourse from a cognitive linguistic and embodied cognition perspective. In addition to text and spoken language, I examine diverse genres to investigate multimodal meaning – how speech and body movement (gesture, gaze, shrugs, etc.) create meaning together. I explore how these varied modalities express abstract conceptual and grammatical notions. I am currently working on a series of experimental studies of how gesture influences our assessment of a speaker’s preferences. As a Killam postdoctoral research fellow working with Dr. Barbara Dancygier, I am investigating how speakers build ‘stance’, or how they express their beliefs or negate or reject other people’s beliefs.
I’m interested in applying research findings to technical and social problems, including the improvement of human-avatar communication systems, procedural generation of dialogue in video games, and clinical applications.
Mittelberg, I. & Hinnell, J. (2022, in press). Gesture Studies and Semiotics. In Pelkey, J. & Cobley, P. (eds), Semiotic Movements. Bloomsbury Semiotics 4. London: Bloomsbury Academic.
Parrill, F. Hinnell, J., Moran, G., Boylan H., Gupta, I., Zamir, A. (2021, in press). Observers use Gesture to Disambiguate Contrastive Expressions of Preference. Language and Cognition.
Hinnell, J. & Parrill, F. (2020). Gesture influences resolution of ambiguous statements of neutral and moral preferences. Frontiers in Psychology – Cognition. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.587129.
Hinnell, J. (2019). The verbal-kinesic enactment of CONTRAST in North American English. The American Journal of Semiotics,35(1-2): 55-92. doi: 10.5840/ajs20198754.
Hinnell, J. (2018). The multimodal marking of aspect: The case of five periphrastic auxiliary constructions in North American English. Cognitive Linguistics, 29(4): 773-806. doi: 10.1515/cog-2017-0009.
Schüller, D., Beecks, C., Hassani, M., Hinnell, J., Brenger, B., Seidl, T., & Mittelberg, I. (2017). Automated pattern analysis in gesture research: Similarity measuring in 3D motion capture models of communicative action. Digital Humanities Quarterly, 11(2), 1-14.
Beecks, C., Hassani, M., Brenger, B., Hinnell, J., Schüller, D., Mittelberg, I. & Seidl, T. (2016). Efficient query processing in 3D motion capture gesture databases via the gesture matching distance. International Journal of Semantic Computing, 10(1), 5-25.
Taboada, M., Carretero, M. & Hinnell, J. (2014). Loving and hating in the movies in English, German and Spanish. Languages in Contrast 14(1), 127-161. doi: 10.1075/lic.14.1.07tab
Borkent, M., Dancygier, B. & Hinnell, J. (eds.). (2013). Language and the Creative Mind. Stanford, CA: CSLI Press.