Indexation | The quality of speech being linked to an external event that it follows, points to, comments, supports, or orders, and from which it draws its formal properties, notably rhythmic ones.

Speech is indexed to an external event to the extent that both share a certain duration, a course of action that the speaker is bound to in some way. Sports commentary is thus a form of speech whose form and existence are directly due to the event it comments. This is the case with c/node/9397 and soccer commentary: accelerating output, decreasing details at crucial moments, intensity: the more breathless the commentary, the more listeners will get the impression they are actually present at such race or such game (see also Medal wa mieta).

Indexation could also be described as follows: speaker A shares, represents, and transmits their speech over the course of action B, with speaker C present. Thus, the horse race (B) is related by a commentator (A) for spectators (C). The object of indexation thus takes shape through the movements of an inanimate object, the actions of a human or group of humans, the actions of a human on a horse, the horse itself, and the field streaming by because of humans carrying out their actions on horses which make up something of interest for spectators and commentators.

A typical example of indexation can be found in this excerpt of a “real-time” description of General De Gaulle’s trip and welcome to Québec. A great number of situations lend themselves to this kind of action, such as reports, reaction videos, auctions. We have also found this case of a controversial description of gestures for deaf and mute persons (see also Capturer un groupe de macque rhésus femelles, Le premier signal, Look at that big change, The best culinary magic trick, We call this a capitulation, and Attentat à Jerusalem).

Based on these typical cases, we can distinguish between several other cases that make up the collection:


Occurs when A and B are mixed up—that is, when a speaker (A) describes an action (B) they are carrying out to a third person (C). I represent myself in action to a spectator through speech. Thus, in this excerpt of a documentary on Alfred Cortot, the great pianist shows a young lady the “dreamy” way that he believes Schumann’s piece The Poet Speaks should be played. Or, in this harmonic analysis, taken from a recording about learning how to play guitar, Valérie Duchâteau comments on a Bach score over her very own recording of the prelude.

Such is also the case in this excerpt of a cooking show, this dance class, this mathematics lesson, and this more domestic tutorial (see also Ocho cortado).


Occur when B and C are mixed up, that is to say when the action described is carried out by the person speaker A is addressing: thus, in this recording, an owner (A) gives instructions (B) to his dog, who is the recipient (C) of his speech. The three orders “Lie down!” “Sit!” and “Stand!” depend upon the dog’s response. In this case, the indexation is reciprocal, because the recipient of the speech retroactively acts upon the speaker, like this boxing coach or this conductor (see also Nur der Fluß ist weg). This relationship to indexation can thus produce the impression that the event described is being mutually constructed, another example being this recording of a game of Pictionary or the turmoil of giving birth (see also Montre ce que tu sais faire, Vas-y Isabelle). In this family of cases, one can also find the example of propping someone up, of saying “repeat after me” (Un bon citoyen and I, Barack Hussein Obama).


When A and C are mixed up, that is to say when a speaker (A) describes and comments on an action (B) they are witnessing for themselves (C). In his Tentative de description de choses vues au carrefour Mabillon le 19 mai 1978, Georges Perec, standing in public, makes oral notes about “what happens when nothing is happening, apart from time, people, cars, and clouds.” This is also the case in a poem where Klaus Groh counts drops. The stating of each drop’s rank is indexed to the rhythm of its fall, leaving silence between each statement that cannot be mastered (see also Un pompon jaune, un pompon rouge, un pompon bleu).


When A, B, and C are mixed up, that is to say when a speaker (A) comments on an action (B) they are carrying out for themselves (C). In this excerpt of the film Mesrine, for example, a police inspector (A) reads what he is typing (B) aloud for himself (C) (see also the borderline case of Ah-Hooooh).

This occurrence of writing while reading aloud, as if for oneself, is quite common—another example can be found in this scene from real life. But it seems clear that this kind of action, when carried out in public, takes its public nature into account. The excerpt just cited would thus be an example of the current sub-category but also a case of what we have called explanation. Indeed, the sub-categories described above are not mutually exclusive. A player in a game can both follow their own actions and those of other players; a composer telling a tale can both comment on what they are doing and describe it as an almost external action that has already taken place. Finally, one can see how observations for oneself and instructions to cameramen are intermingled in a stage control room, or how certain activities such as flying together require both concentration on oneself and concentration expressed to others.

  • 100 drops

    Klaus Groh, excerpt of the sound poem Voooxing Poooêtre, 1982.

  • Ah-Hooooh

    Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki, excerpt of a tennis semi-final, 2010.

  • All systems are ready

    Countdown to the launch of an H-2A rocket, Japan, 2014.

  • Allez poulette

    Excerpt of a training session, YouTube video, 2012.

  • Attentat à Jérusalem

    Excerpt of a television news report, 2000s.

  • Attention à la mousse !

    Arrival of a skating race at the Strasbourg Europe Races, YouTube video, 2008.

  • Attention toujours la deux

    Excerpt of a bonus DVD from L'École des femmes by Don Kent, Arte Vidéo, 2008.

  • Au moment de commencer

    Roland Barthes, excerpt of the lecture Comment vivre ensemble, Collège de France, 1976-1977.

  • Azione!

    Director's instructions on the shooting of a porn movie, 2000s.

  • Beaucoup plus tchic que ça

    Natalia Makarovas, ballet rehearsal for the Paris Opera, excerpt of the documentary film Ballerina, BBC, 1982.

  • Bola fora

    Excerpt from a soccer commentary, 2017.

  • C'est pas comparable à rien

    Maïté, excerpt of the show La Cuisine des Mousquetaires, FR3, 1987.

  • Ça smoke Heaven ?

    Excerpt from a game of Counter strike global offensive, personal recording, 2018.

  • Calculer une intégrale

    Leçon de mathématiques, excerpt of a YouTube video, 2008.

  • Cartoon de Grain

    Excerpt of commentary on a trifecta bet, 2007.

  • Couché, assis, debout

    Training session, excerpt of a YouTube video.

  • Dad it's going under

    Dialog between a girl and her dad on a boat, YouTube video, 2012.

  • Demi-lunes

    Driving course, 2015.

  • Deux euros de plus

    Commentator of the running of the bulls in Camargue, personal recording, 2019.

  • Dobbiamo immaginare

    Excerpt from a guided tour of the Domus Aurea in Roma, 2019.

  • Double dream hands

    John Jacobson, excerpt of a video dance class, 2010.

  • Du loopcut de partout

    Excerpt of a cosmetic packaging tutorial posted on YouTube, 2012.

  • Eine grosse Huu

    Excerpt of Astrid Bscher and Maestro Andris Nelsons’s documentary film Le Feu du génie, Arte, 2012.

  • Fais l'abeille

    Excerpt from a boxing training for children, YouTube, 2013.

  • Fais-lui mal au sac

    Boxing training, excerpt of a YouTube video.

  • Faut toucher Mogded

    Excerpt from a boxing training for children, YouTube, 2013.

  • Fejn gejt qalla

    Gamer commenting on his game, 2014.

  • Forty three with Amy now

    Auction at Christie's, excerpt of a YouTube video, 2008.

  • Gauchis et ciel

    Daniel Elena, copilot to Sebastien Loeb, excerpt of commentary on a driving session, Fafe Rally Sprint, 2012.

  • Grasshopper you're hot bud

    Scene from a masturbation session shared via webcam, XTube, 2004.

  • Here's your baby

    Video of a birth posted on YouTube, 2010.

  • I dupli u stranu

    Renata Sopek, excerpt of a gymnastics lesson on Croatian television, 2012.

  • I got you bro

    Teenager playing Fortnite, personal recording, 2018.

  • I live for this

    Kristina Rose and Manuel Ferrara, excerpt of the film Kristina Rose Is Slutwoman, 2011.

  • I'm afraid too

    Reaction video posted on YouTube, 2008.

  • I, Barack Hussein Obama

    Barack Obama, excerpt of the presidential inauguration ceremony, 2009.

  • J'allais te tuer

    Teenager playing Fortnite, personal recording, 2018.

  • J'enclenche la fumée top

    "Musique blanche" from La Patrouille de France, YouTube video, 2013.

  • Jauuuuuuune

    Guys playing Guitar Hero, video posted on YouTube, 2012.

  • Jouer le tir

    Commentary on the Women's Handball World Championship, RMC, 2017

  • J’ai très envie de me résoudre

    André Manoukian, excerpt from the radio show Les routes de la musique, France Inter, 2016.

  • La ronde des mots

    Bernard Pivot, excerpt of La Dictée d'Amiens, 2005.

  • Le carrefour Mabillon

    Georges Perec, excerpt of the radio essay Tentative de description de choses vues au carrefour Mabillon le 19 mai 1978, France Culture, 1978.

  • Le jeudi 8 mars

    Excerpt of the film Mesrine by Jean-François Richet, 2008.

  • Le poète parle

    Alfred Cortot, excerpt of a filmed piano lesson, 1961.

  • Le ton de la mineur

    Valérie Duchâteau, excerpt of the recording Méthode de guitare classique, 1997.

  • Les silences sont parlants, hein

    Patricia Martin, Jean-Marc Four, Pierrick Bolnau, Cyril Grasiani, excerpt of the 7-9am weekend news hour, France Inter, 2014.

  • Let's go it's Uno

    Excerpt of a YouTube video, 2011.

  • Mais dites-moi, c'est vigousse

    Maïté and Micheline, excerpt of the show La Cuisine des mousquetaires, FR3, 1992.

  • Medal wa mieta

    Excerpt of the 800-meter freestyle swimming final at the Athens Olympics, NHK, 2004.

  • Nine seventy-five

    John Korrey, excerpt of an auction, excerpt from the DVD Chant of a Champion, 2007.

  • Nur der Fluß ist weg

    Ferenc Fricsay, excerpt of an orchestra rehearsal, 1960.

  • Ocho Cortado

    Excerpt of a tango lesson posted on YouTube, 2010.

  • On a fait une belle run

    Excerpt from a stream of Dead Cells par At0miumVOD, vidéo Youtube, 2018.

  • Otvori pleshkite!

    Training session of the Bulgarian national rhythmic gymnastics team, bulgarian television, 2012

  • Partagez un max

    Street scene, extract from a livestream on Periscope, 2018.


  • Pied flex

    Excerpt from a Pilates class, 2019

  • Plus vite que la musique

    Mohamed, excerpt of the show Gym Direct, D8 TV, 2014.

  • Red, blue and white, all right!

    Cheerleading competition (TC Wiliams High School), excerpt of a YouTube video, 2010.

  • Sa spugnetta

    Make-up tutorial, YouTube, 2019

  • Sergeant Smith is down

    Excerpt of Deborah Scranton’s documentary film The War Tapes, 2006.>

  • That's beautiful, Angelo

    Angelo Badalamenti, excerpt of the documentary Another Place: Creating Twin Peaks by Charles de Lauzirika, 2007.

  • The best culinary magic trick

    Alton Brown, excerpt of the show Iron Chief America, Food Network, 2009.

  • Tournez, tournez, tournez

    Spiritism session, excerpt from the show “La Mort vivante”, La Série documentaire, France Culture, 2019.

  • Two points away

    Commentary of the Men’s Final Wimbledon Championship, BBC Radio, 2015.

  • Un bon citoyen

    Maurice Pialat and children, excerpt of the television series La Maison des bois by Maurice Pialat, 1970.

  • Un point c’est tout

    Claudette, excerpt from the film Sans Adieu by Christophe Agou, 2017.

  • Un premier signal !

    Excerpt of the recording 147 heures avec Apollo 8, 1968.

  • Un, deux, trois

    Ernest Ansermet, excerpt of a rehearsal for The Rite of Spring, 1950s.

  • Une théière, une cafetière

    Excerpt of the show Pictionary featured on Une case en moins, NoLife, 2010.

  • Vas-y Isabelle

    Wrestling match, excerpt of the show Sur les docks, France Culture, 2009.

  • Vips drömmar

    Child learning to read, personal recording, Sweden, 2017. 

  • Vittu ! Satana !

    Monologue of a man sitting on his couch, Youtube video, 2014.

  • Vous l’avez vue ?

    Apparition of a ghost, excerpt of the radio show Boulevard de l'étrange, France Inter, 1984.

  • We call this a capitulation

    Excerpt of the online TV station, 2010.

  • Yannick y’a des plaques

    Extract from an online game of Call of Duty, 2020.

Tournez, tournez, tournez

Spiritism session, excerpt from the show “La Mort vivante”, La Série documentaire, France Culture, 2019.