Irene Mittelberg

RWTH Aachen University

Irene Mittelberg is Professor of Linguistics and Cognitive Semiotics at the Institute of English Studies of RWTH Aachen University (Germany), where she directs the Centre for Sign Language and Gesture (SignGes) and the Natural Media Lab, a gesture research lab equipped with motion-capture technology. She holds an M.A. in French linguistics and art history from Hamburg University and a Ph.D. in linguistics and cognitive studies from Cornell University (advisors: Linda Waugh, Michael Spivey). Her work combines semiotic theory (e.g., Peirce and Jakobson) with embodied approaches to language, cognition, and multimodal interaction, notably to examine how image schemas, iconicity, indexicality, metonymy, metaphor, viewpoint, and frames motivate coverbal gestures. Another focus is comparing sign formation and the use of space in gesture, architectural design, and the visual arts. Recent interdisciplinary work includes pattern analysis in kinetic gesture data and the adoption of Peirce’s universal categories for neuroscientific research into gesture. She wrote a monograph on Metaphor and Metonymy in Language and Gesture (2006), co-edited Methods in Cognitive Linguistics (2007) and has (co-)published over 60 journal articles/book chaptersIn June 2022, her team will co-host IACS4 in Aachen.