Linguistics Gestures
by
Adam Kendon
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 October 2011
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199772810-0018

Introduction

This article, after listing recent general works and surveys, is organized first to reflect the historical development of interest in gesture up to the middle of the 20th century. Thereafter it is organized according to the principal topics that currently occupy gesture researchers. In the West interest in gesture began with its role in rhetorical technique. Philosophical interest emerged in the 18th century, when discussion of the problem of the natural origin of language first began. This continued in the 19th century, when discussion broadened with the rise of ideas on biological evolution and the accumulation of ethnographic information. Although there was a decline of interest during the first half of the 20th century, after World War II, as interest in human communication expanded along with interest in the psychological, cognitive, and biological foundations of language, scholarly attention returned to gesture and has greatly expanded since 1980. Study of the elaboration of gesture into sign languages, as found in communities of deaf persons (or in communities where there is a high proportion of them), has developed as a separate field and is not covered here, although references are included to selected works that throw light on the overlaps between gesture used by speakers and modes of expression in sign languages. However, works on gesture systems and so-called alternate sign languages, used by speaker-hearers when the use of speech is restricted for environmental or ritual reasons, have been included.

General Overviews

Kendon 2004 provides broad coverage of most aspects of gesture study. McNeill 1992 set the direction of much modern gesture research from the perspective of cognitive psychology. Streeck 2009 surveys many aspects of gesture use and offers an important perspective on gesture and the embodiment of thought. McNeill 2000; Duncan, et al. 2007; and Stam and Ishino 2011 are edited collections offering wide samples of current work on gesture with cognitive psychological, semiotic or linguistic, and ethnographic perspectives. Bremmer and Roodenburg 1993 and Braddick 2009 are edited collections of papers on gesture approached from historical, cultural, and anthropological perspectives.

  • Braddick, Michael J., ed. 2009. The politics of gesture: Historical perspectives. Past and Present Supplements 4. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    This collection contains some useful papers on gesture and society in India, China, and Africa as well as western Europe.

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    • Bremmer, Jan, and Hermann Roodenburg, eds. 1993. A cultural history of gesture: From antiquity to the present day. Papers presented at a colloquium held in Utrecht, the Netherlands, in the autumn of 1989. Cambridge, MA: Polity.

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      A well-regarded collection of papers on gestures and related phenomena in ancient Greece and Rome, the Middle Ages in Europe, the early modern and Renaissance periods, and the 18th century in France from a cultural-historical point of view.

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      • Duncan, Susan D., Justine Cassell, and Elena T. Levy, eds. 2007. Gesture and the dynamic dimension of language. Gesture Studies 1. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

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        This collection includes discussions of gesture and thought, relationships between gesture and sign, interrelationships between forms of gesture and lexical expression, and relationships between gesturing and the environment, among other subjects.

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        • Kendon, Adam. 2004. Gesture: Visible action as utterance. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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          A comprehensive treatment of gesture, including an extended survey of the history of its study, discussions of the influence of cultural and linguistic differences on gesture use, the relationship between speakers’ gestures and signing in sign languages, detailed descriptions of gesture use in everyday conversation, and analyses of the role of gesture in utterance construction.

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          • McNeill, David. 1992. Hand and mind: What gestures reveal about thought. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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            A key work that has been highly influential in the development of gesture studies from a cognitive perspective.

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            • McNeill, David, ed. 2000. Language and gesture. Language, Culture, and Cognition 2. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

              DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511620850Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              A collection of important studies by many of the leading figures in contemporary gesture studies, covering a wide range of approaches and theoretical positions.

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              • Stam, Gale, and Mika Ishino. 2011. Integrating gesture: The interdisciplinary nature of gesture. Papers presented at the Third Congress of the International Society for Gesture Studies, Evanston, Illinois, 2007. Gesture Studies 4. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

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                A selection of papers providing an up-to-date survey of many themes important in gesture studies, including the nature and functions of gesture, first-language development and gesture, second-language effects on gesture, gesture in the classroom and in problem solving, gesture in relation to discourse and interaction, and gestural analysis of music and dance.

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                • Streeck, Jürgen. 2009. Gesturecraft: The manu-facture of meaning. Gesture Studies 2. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

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                  Based on studies of gesture use in everyday circumstances; the emphasis is on how the hand, in the way it engages with our environment, develops forms of symbolic action often derived from patterns of practical actions of various kinds and plays a role in the development of how humans conceive of the inhabited world.

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                  Pre-20th-Century Studies

                  Gesture was first discussed in the Western tradition by Roman writers on rhetoric. In the Middle Ages, gesture was considered from an ethical perspective to be managed as a part of the discipline of daily life and ritual. It became a topic of scholarly inquiry in the 17th century and was investigated for its significance for linguistics and mental philosophy from the 18th century on. With the expansion of ethnographic inquiry and the development of theories of biological evolution in the 19th century, gesture continued to be of interest. It was viewed as a possibly more primitive form of human communication. The subsections here include titles of some works from those eras of which modern editions are available, but most titles are for works of modern historical inquiry.

                  Classical Antiquity

                  There is an extensive specialized literature on this topic. Butler 1922 is a translation of Quintilian’s treatise from the 1st century CE on rhetoric, which includes the most detailed extant account of gesture use in rhetorical delivery in late Roman Antiquity. Aldrete 1999 and Graf 1992 provide details regarding gestures used in oratory, discussing Quintilian and other sources. Corbeill 2004 focuses on aspects of general bodily management and their importance in the urban social environment in Rome. Dutsch 2002 analyzes Quintilian’s account of gesture in oratory.

                  • Aldrete, Gregory S. 1999. Gestures and acclamations in ancient Rome. Ancient Society and History. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press.

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                    The first three chapters provide a detailed survey and description of the various kinds and uses of gestures by orators, actors, and other public figures in ancient Rome, together with a discussion of the social context and significance of this form of communication.

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                    • Butler, H. E. 1922. The Institutio Oratoria of Quintilian. Translated by H. E. Butler. Loeb Classical Library 124–127. London: William Heinemann.

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                      The discussion of gesture in this edition is found in Volume 4, book 11, 3.85–184.

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                      • Corbeill, Anthony. 2004. Nature embodied: Gesture in ancient Rome. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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                        “Gesture” in this work includes all the ways bodily action is patterned as persons interact with each other. There are discussions of expressive bodily practices in religious ritual and medicine and in women’s mourning practices, of the importance of styles of walking and the importance of facial expression, and of the symbolic power of the thumb.

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                        • Dutsch, Dorata. 2002. Towards a grammar of gesture: A comparison between the type of hand movements of the orator and the actor in Quintilian’s Institutio Oratoria 11.3.85–18. Gesture 2.2: 259–281.

                          DOI: 10.1075/gest.2.2.07dutSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          An analysis of the gesture system implied in Quintilian’s account of the use of gesture in oratory. Originally a conference paper, International Society for Gesture Studies 2010, “Towards a Grammar of Gesture: Evolution, Brain, and Linguistic Structures.”

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                          • Graf, Fritz. 1992. Gestures and conventions: The gestures of Roman actors and orators. In A cultural history of gesture. Edited by Jan Bremmer and Herman Roodenburg, 36–58. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univ. Press.

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                            A useful although brief essay on the gestural practices of orators and actors in ancient Rome. Includes an extensive set of references to sources. The author emphasizes the view that gestural practices are for the most part shaped by social convention.

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                            Middle Ages and Renaissance

                            Gesture was especially important in public and religious ritual in the Middle Ages, as is described in detail in Schmitt 1990. Davidson 2001 is a collection of papers exploring gesture in medieval drama, and Burrow 2002 examines medieval narrative texts to extract information about gesture and other aspects of bodily expression in daily life. The two papers by Dilwyn Knox (Knox 1990a, Knox 1990b) discuss treatises on gesture from the medieval and Renaissance periods from the point of view of the linguistic and educational philosophies of the time.

                            • Burrow, John. 2002. Gestures and looks in medieval narrative. Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature 48. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                              A careful examination of a wide range of narrative texts in English, French, and Italian from the 14th and 15th centuries (Geoffrey Chaucer, Sir Thomas Malory, Jean Froissart, and Dante, among others) for evidence about the role of gesture, glance, and facial expression in everyday interaction. The author’s findings are set within the wider frame of a semiotics of bodily communication.

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                              • Davidson, Clifford, ed. 2001. Gesture in medieval drama and art. Early Drama, Art, and Music Monograph Series 28. Kalamazoo: Western Michigan Univ., Medieval Institute.

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                                A collection of papers on various aspects of gesture, especially as they functioned in medieval drama. Of value to anyone wishing to pursue the study of gesture use in this period and a reminder to modern “discoverers” of “multimodality” in communication that this was already very well understood by the rhetoricians, artists, and dramatists of a much-earlier period.

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                                • Knox, Dilwyn. 1990a. Ideas on gesture and universal languages, c. 1550–1650. In New perspectives on Renaissance thought: Essays in the history of science, education, and philosophy in memory of Charles B. Schmitt. Edited by J. Henry and S. Hutton, 101–136. London: Duckworth.

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                                  Valuable discussion of ideas about gesture and the concept of universal language.

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                                  • Knox, Dilwyn. 1990b. Late medieval and Renaissance ideas on gesture. In Die Sprache der Zeichen und Bilder. Rhetorik und nonverbale Kommunikation in der frühen Neuzeit. Ars Rhetorica 1. Edited by V. Kapp, 11–39. Marburg, Germany: Hitzeroth.

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                                    Valuable discussion of the relationship among ideas about gesture, contemporary philosophies of language, and educational philosophy.

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                                    • Schmitt, Jean-Claude. 1990. La raison des gestes dans l’Occident médiéval. Bibliothèque des Histoires. Paris: Gallimard.

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                                      Drawing extensively on illuminated manuscripts, depictions in churches, and documents such as the Bayeux Tapestry as well as numerous written discussions, this comprehensive study covers gesture from late Antiquity until the medieval period, exploring the religious and social values that the various conventional forms of bodily action uphold or clarify and the cultural and historical forces that shape their use.

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                                      17th Century

                                      Early in the 17th century, works began to focus on bodily expression. Giovanni Bonifaccio, in his L’arte de’ cenni . . . (The art of signs . . .), published in Vincenza in 1616, attempted a comprehensive account of all the different ways every part of the human body could serve in signification. His motive in writing the book in part was to make a plea for a return from the artificialities of spoken language to what he took to be the original form of human language (see Knox 1996). Other works that appeared soon afterward were strongly influenced by Quintilian (see Butler 1922, cited under the subsection Classical Antiquity). Bulwer 1974 is an early attempt in English to give an account of gestural expression and also to set out rules for the use of the hands in speaking. John Bulwer’s approach and philosophy are discussed in Cleary 1959 and Wollock 2002.

                                      • Bulwer, John. 1974. Chirologia or the natural language of the hand, etc.; Chironomia; or, The art of manual rhetoric, etc. Edited by James W. Cleary. Landmarks in Rhetoric and Public Address. Carbondale: Southern Illinois Univ. Press.

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                                        The earliest volume on gesture in English contains two books: The Chirologia expounds the “natural language of the hand,” explaining gestures described by classical, biblical, and other authors as well as Bulwer’s own observations. The Chironomia sets out a series of “canons” as a guide to how the hands should be used by an orator, drawing heavily on Quintilian. Originally published in 1644.

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                                        • Cleary, James. 1959. John Bulwer: Renaissance communicationist. Quarterly Journal of Speech 45:391–398.

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                                          A useful introduction and discussion of Bulwer’s work and his importance.

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                                          • Knox, Dilwyn. 1996. Giovanni Bonifaccio’s L’arte de’ cenni and Renaissance ideas of gesture. In Italia ed Europa nella linguistica del Rinascimento: Confronti e relazioni; Atti del Convegno internazionale, Ferrara, 20–24 marzo,1991. Vol. 2, L’Italia e l’Europa non romanza: Le lingue orientali. Edited by M. Tavoni, 379–400. Ferrara, Italy: Franco Cosimo Panini.

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                                            Provides a discussion of Bonifaccio’s work and how it relates to thinking on gesture at the time.

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                                            • Wollock, Jeffrey. 2002. John Bulwer (1606–1656) and the significance of gesture in 17th-century theories of language and cognition. Gesture 2.2: 227–258.

                                              DOI: 10.1075/gest.2.2.06wolSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                              A discussion of Bulwer in relation to 17th-century conceptions of language.

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                                              18th Century

                                              The 18th century saw the development of an interest in gesture from a philosophical point of view. This is very well discussed in Rosenfeld 2001. Gesture as a possible basis for a universal language was also investigated (Knowlson 1965). Interest in the role of gesture in rhetoric and stage performance continued and expanded (Barnett 1987). Austin 1966 provides a systematic account of the doctrines of bodily and facial conduct in public speaking and is a useful summary of much in that tradition as it had developed from the beginning of the 17th century. Spoel 1998 discusses Gilbert Austin’s attempt to systematize his analysis of expressive bodily conduct. In the early 18th century in Britain a vigorous elocution movement developed in which bodily conduct in speaking was much discussed. Goring 2009 is a useful introduction to this.

                                              • Austin, Gilbert. 1966. Chironomia; or, a treatise on rhetorical delivery. Edited by Mary Margaret Robb and Lester Thonssen. Landmarks in Rhetoric and Public Address. Carbondale: Southern Illinois Univ. Press.

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                                                A textbook that summarizes thinking on gesture within the rhetorical tradition as it was revived in the early 17th century and that draws heavily on Quintilian’s writings. It covers every aspect and is notable for its proposal of a notation system for gesture useful for transcribing oratorical performances to be used as models in teaching. Originally published in 1802.

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                                                • Barnett, Dene. 1987. The art of gesture: Principles and practice of eighteenth century acting. Heidelberg, Germany: C. Winter.

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                                                  A systematic assemblage of a large number of quotations from 18th-century works, together with many illustrations, illustrating aspects of the use of gesture in acting and rhetoric. The work also contains attempts to summarize the main features of the “art of gesture” as it was elaborated in this period.

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                                                  • Goring, Paul. 2009. The rhetoric of sensibility in eighteenth-century culture. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                    A history of attitudes toward bodily expressiveness, especially in reference to public speaking and acting in 18th-century Britain. Contains useful accounts of Thomas Sheridan and the elocutionary movement and David Garrick and changing styles of acting.

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                                                    • Knowlson, James. 1965. The idea of gesture as a universal language in the XVIIth and XVIIIth centuries. Journal of the History of Ideas 26.4: 495–508.

                                                      DOI: 10.2307/2708496Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                      An account of the emergence of the idea that gesture could form the basis for a universal language, from Giovanni Bonifaccio and John Bulwer to the work of Charles-Michel de L’Epée and Roche-Ambroise Sicard and the critical analysis by Joseph-Marie De Gérando, who showed the impossibility of using gesture as the basis for a universal language.

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                                                      • Rosenfeld, Sophia. 2001. Language and revolution in France: The problem of signs in late eighteenth-century France. Stanford, CA: Stanford Univ. Press.

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                                                        A well-documented discussion of gesture and sign language from a philosophical point of view as developed in France in the late 18th century. Includes an account of the work of Étienne Bonnot de Condillac, Denis Diderot, Joseph-Marie De Gérando, Charles-Michel de L’Epée, and Roche-Ambroise Sicard and how the new interest in bodily expression contributed to new ideas about language and their place in the philosophical underpinnings of the Revolution.

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                                                        • Spoel, Philippa M. 1998. The science of bodily rhetoric in Gilbert Austin’s Chironomia. Rhetoric Society Quarterly 28.4: 5–27.

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                                                          An interesting discussion of Austin’s attempts to systematize the study of expressive bodily action in relation to other contemporary attempts to systematize other areas of study, such as chemistry and biological taxonomy in the late 18th century.

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                                                          19th Century

                                                          Gesture, established as a topic of philosophical interest in the 18th century for what it could reveal about the nature of the language faculty and how it could be important for theories of language origins, continued to draw the attention of scholars in the 19th century. Its study was greatly enriched by the expansion of observations on the use of gesture among tribal peoples from many parts of the world. Here are listed three works that were quite influential—Tylor 1878, Mallery 1972, and Wundt 1973—as well as a famous work by the Neapolitan scholar Andrea de Jorio (de Jorio 2000), which is remarkable for being one of the first works in what might later be called the ethnographic study of gesture in everyday life, in this case as it was observed in Naples in the early 19th century.

                                                          • de Jorio, Andrea. 2000. Gesture in Naples and gesture in classical Antiquity: A translation of La mimica degli antichi investigata nel gestire napoletano by Andrea de Jorio (1832) and with an introduction and notes by Adam Kendon. Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press.

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                                                            Written in the belief that an understanding of the use of gesture in Naples would help in the interpretations of ancient images that included depictions of gesture found in vases and in mosaics from Pompeii and Herculaneum, this book contains rich descriptions of gesture in everyday life in 19th-century Naples. Kendon’s long introduction describes de Jorio’s life and his place in Neapolitan archaeology and includes an evaluation of his work on gesture. The original title translates as “Gestural expression of the ancients in the light of Neapolitan gesturing.”

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                                                            • Mallery, Garrick. 1972. Sign language among North American Indians, compared with that among other peoples and deaf-mutes. Approaches to Semiotics 14. The Hague: Mouton.

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                                                              This book is a comprehensive overview of what was then known about gesture in general, including extended extracts from Mallery’s collection of signs from the Plains Indian sign language. It remains perhaps the most comprehensive book on gesture from the 19th century. Photomechanical reprint of a report to the Bureau of Ethnology, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Originally published in 1881.

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                                                              • Tylor, Edward B. 1878. Researches into the early history of mankind and the development of civilization. London: John Murray.

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                                                                Chapters 1–5 discuss language and include passages on “gesture language” both as gesture or sign use among the deaf and on gesture use in different parts of the world, derived from numerous ethnographic reports. Tylor argues for the importance of an understanding of gesture for an understanding of the human capacity for language. Originally published in 1865. Digital reprint available from University of California Libraries.

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                                                                • Wundt, Wilhelm. 1973. The language of gestures. Translated by J. S. Thayer, C. M. Greenleaf, and M. D. Silberman. Approaches to Semiotics Paperback Series 6. The Hague: Mouton.

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                                                                  A translation of the chapter of Wundt’s Völkerpsycholgie devoted to language origins, which he saw as first arising from expressions of affect that transformed into gestures. There are insightful observations on gesture from a semiotic point of view and an analysis of sign language, with insights into syntax in gestured discourse that anticipate later understandings.

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                                                                  20th-Century Developments

                                                                  During the first half of the 20th century only sporadic attention was paid to gesture. Its study was not linked, as it had been in the 19th century and earlier, to issues about the fundamental nature of language or its origins, and there were few publications on gesture during this period. Efron 1972 (originally published in 1941), a systematic comparative observational study exploring cultural influences on manner of gesturing, was the first work to presage more-modern approaches. These began to expand about 1950, when three developments leading to a more systematic interest were underway. These included the development of interest in the process of communication, a growing interest on the part of some linguists in what came to be known as “paralanguage,” and the development of a broad conception of symbolic phenomena formulated as “semiotics.” There followed an interest in applying the perspective of ethology to human behavior, which also stimulated interest in gesture. Birdwhistell 1970 initiated the systematic study of the role of bodily action in communication from a linguistic point of view. His work is evaluated and discussed in Kendon and Sigman 1996. Sebeok, et al. 1964 is the record of a historically significant conference with important discussions by early exponents of the new interest in communication conduct, including gesture. Ekman and Friesen 1969 is a highly influential attempt to provide a systematic framework for the study of the communicative significance of visible bodily action. Morris 1977 approaches the subject from the perspective of ethology. Key 1977 is a bibliography with a comprehensive listing of works relevant to gesture as well as to other aspects of bodily communication up to 1977, with historical commentaries.

                                                                  • Birdwhistell, Ray L. 1970. Kinesics and context: Essays in body motion communication. Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Press.

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                                                                    Birdwhistell undertook to develop what he called “kinesics,” borrowing methods from structural linguistics to analyze visible bodily action from a communicative perspective. His work played an important role in drawing attention to the role of body motion in communication. This book is a collection of essays and extracts from essays published between 1952 and 1970.

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                                                                    • Efron, David. 1972. Gesture, race, and culture. The Hague: Mouton.

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                                                                      This pioneering comparative study of conversational gesture in Italian and eastern European Jewish immigrant communities in Manhattan and of their Americanized descendants shows that the differences were cultural; moreover, it includes the first analysis of the relationship between gesturing and speaking and is therefore still a worthwhile source for the study of gesture. Originally published in 1941 as Gesture and Environment (New York: King’s Crown).

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                                                                      • Ekman, Paul, and Wallace Friesen. 1969. The repertoire of nonverbal behavior: Categories, origins, usage, and coding. Semiotica 1:49–98.

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                                                                        This influential paper argues that facial expressions (“affect displays”), conventional gestures (“emblems”), hand movements that accompany speaking (“illustrators”), actions that serve in interaction regulation (“regulators”), and comfort actions of various kinds—patting the hair, scratching, adjusting clothing, and the like (“adaptors”)—have different origins, display different semiotic properties, and have different functions in interaction.

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                                                                        • Kendon, Adam, and Stuart J. Sigman. 1996. Ray L. Birdwhistell (1918–1994). Semiotica 112.3–4: 231–261.

                                                                          DOI: 10.1515/semi.1996.112.3-4.231Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                          A review of Birdwhistell’s life and an evaluation of his work in kinesics in relation to later developments in gesture studies.

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                                                                          • Key, M. R. 1977. Nonverbal communication: A research guide and bibliography. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow.

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                                                                            A comprehensive bibliography compiled by a linguist covering all aspects of “nonverbal communication,” which includes many items relevant to the study of gesture. The bibliography is preceded by several introductory chapters that provide a broad guide to the studies of these phenomena, including consideration of early studies from the 18th and 19th centuries.

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                                                                            • Morris, D. 1977. Manwatching: A field guide to human behavior. New York: Harry N. Abrams.

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                                                                              An approach to human behavior from the perspective of ethology. Designed for a broad audience, it is full of insightful observations about human behavior and contributed to the development of an interest in gesture in the middle decades of the 20th century.

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                                                                              • Sebeok, T. A., F. C. Hayes, and M. C. Bateson, eds. 1964. Approaches to semiotics: Cultural anthropology, education, linguistics, psychiatry, psychology. Papers presented at “Paralinguistics and Kinesics,” held on 17–19 May 1962. Janua Linguarum Series Major 15. The Hague: Mouton.

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                                                                                “State-of-the-art” papers and transcriptions of discussions from the 1962 conference sponsored by the Indiana University Research Center in Anthropology, Folklore, and Linguistics. Participants at the conference included Margaret Mead, Ray Birdwhistell, Erving Goffman, and Thomas Sebeok, among others influential in the development of an integrative approach to human communication, with explicit attention to the role of visible bodily action.

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                                                                                Current Topics

                                                                                From about 1980 on, the study of gesture began to expand, largely due to the interest it aroused in students of the psychological aspects of language. With expanded interest in the processes of communication in face-to-face interaction and with the increasingly easy availability of audiovisual recording technology, gesture is also studied in everyday interaction by followers of approaches such as conversation analysis and interaction ethnography. The recognition of sign languages as full languages has stimulated an interest in gesture among linguists and others. Students of language development in children came to recognize that children express themselves with gestures, and that the way these develop is closely linked to the development of speech. There is a special interest in pointing, as this seems to be the first manifestation of a symbolic communicative act in the child. Studies of the behavior of nonhuman primates have also expanded to include studies of gesturing among these animals and how this might relate to human gesturing. Current discussions of the problem of the evolutionary origins of language also include investigations and speculations that relate to the possible role of gesture as a precursor of modern language.

                                                                                Interrelationships between Speech and Gesture

                                                                                Detailed analyses of sound-synchronous film revealing the intimate coordination between body motion and speech are published in Condon and Ogston 1967, Kendon 1972, and Kendon 1980 and more recently confirmed in different ways in Mayberry and Jaques 2000; Seyfeddinipur 2006; Loehr 2007; and Shattuck-Hufnagel, et al. 2007. A broad review of earlier research is Feyereisen and de Lannoy 1991.

                                                                                • Condon, W. S., and W. D. Ogston. 1967. A segmentation of behavior. Journal of Psychiatric Research 5.3: 221–235.

                                                                                  DOI: 10.1016/0022-3956(67)90004-0Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                  A pioneering study in which sound-synchronous films of speakers are analyzed, revealing the intimate coordination between phrases of body motion and phonetic phrasing of speech.

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                                                                                  • Feyereisen, Pierre, and Jacques-Dominique de Lannoy. 1991. Gestures and speech: Psychological investigations. Studies in Emotion and Social Interaction. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                    A comprehensive review of investigations into the relationship between gesture and speech as undertaken in psychology, psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, developmental psychology, and neuropsychology.

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                                                                                    • Kendon, Adam. 1972. Some relationships between body motion and speech: An analysis of an example. Paper presented at a conference on interview research at the Psychiatric Institute of the University of Maryland, 22–23 April 1968. In Studies in dyadic communication. Edited by A. Siegman and B. Pope, 177–210. Pergamon General Psychology. New York: Pergamon.

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                                                                                      A detailed analysis, building on W. S. Condon’s work, that describes a nested hierarchical relationship between bodily action at different levels of organization and the prosodic organization of concurrent speech.

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                                                                                      • Kendon, Adam. 1980. Gesticulation and speech: Two aspects of the process of utterance. In The relationship of verbal and nonverbal communication. Edited by Mary Ritchie Key, 207–227. The Hague: Mouton.

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                                                                                        An analysis showing how units of gestural action and units of spoken action are coordinated and a discussion of the different ways gesture may express the ideational content of discourse.

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                                                                                        • Loehr, Daniel. 2007. Aspects of rhythm in gesture and speech. Gesture 7.2: 179–214.

                                                                                          DOI: 10.1075/gest.7.2.04loeSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                          A detailed microanalytic study of the rhythmic relationship between body movements and speech, using video recordings of spontaneous conversations. Includes a useful review of previous research on body-motion-speech interrelationships.

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                                                                                          • Mayberry, Rachel I., and Joselynne Jaques. 2000. Gesture production during stuttered speech: Insights into the nature of gesture-speech integration. In Language and gesture. Edited by David McNeill, 199–214. Language, Culture, and Cognition 2. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                            DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511620850Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                            An examination of what happens to gesture when a speaker’s flow of speech is interrupted in stuttering, showing that gesture and speech are co-organized.

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                                                                                            • Seyfeddinipur, Mandana. 2006. Disfluency: Interrupting speech and gesture. Max Planck Institute Series in Psycholinguistics 39. Nijmegen, The Netherlands: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics.

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                                                                                              A study of the temporal relationships between speech and gesture in moments in discourse when speech becomes disfluent. The findings are discussed in relation to several current theories put forward to account for the gesture-speech relationship.

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                                                                                              • Shattuck-Hufnagel, Stefanie, Yelena Yasinnik, Nanette Veilleux, and Margaret Renwick. 2007. A method for studying the time alignment of gestures and prosody in American English: “Hits” and pitch accents in academic-lecture-style speech. Paper presented at at a conference in Vietri sul Mare, Italy, 2–12 September 2006. In Fundamentals of verbal and nonverbal communication and the biometric issue. Edited by A. Esposito, M. Bratanić, E. Keller, and M. Marinaro, 34–44. NATO Programme for Security through Science Series E: Human and Social Dynamics 18. Amsterdam: IOS.

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                                                                                                A study that develops a method for detailed labeling of the way the segmental, prosodic, and gestural components of utterances are interrelated in time.

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                                                                                                Cognitive Processes

                                                                                                The close relationship between speech and gesture has led to much discussion of what this implies for theories of utterance production that take gesture production into consideration. The different theoretical models proposed in Freedman 1977, McNeill 1985, Kendon 1985, and Kendon 1986 are reviewed in Rimé and Schiaratura 1991. Further development of David McNeill’s theoretical views are in McNeill 2005. Other theories concerning the gesture-speech relation are in Kita 2000; Krauss, et. al. 2000; and Goldin-Meadow 2003. de Ruiter 2007 critically compares three of the main models that have been put forward to account for the interrelationship among speech, thought, and gesture.

                                                                                                • de Ruiter, J. P.. 2007. Postcards from the mind: The relationship between speech, imagistic gesture, and thought. Gesture 7.1: 21–38.

                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1075/gest.7.1.03ruiSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                  A comparison of three different views of how gesture and speech may be related, critically examining the assumptions of the “growth point” hypothesis of David McNeill and the “interface” hypothesis of Sotaro Kita. Argues for the idea that gesture and speech are planned together to become a unified multimodal message designed to meet the needs of the current communication situation.

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                                                                                                  • Freedman, Norbert. 1977. Hands, words, and mind: On the structuralization of body movements during discourse and the capacity for verbal representation. Paper presented at “Research concerning the Psychoanalytic Interpretation of Communication,” Downstate Medical Center, New York, 1976. In Communicative structures and psychic structures: A psychoanalytic approach. Edited by Norbert Freedman and Stanley Grand, 109–132. Downstate Series of Research in Psychiatry and Psychology 1. New York: Plenum.

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                                                                                                    This paper summarizes much of Norbert Freedman’s pioneering work on the different functions of different kinds of body movement during speaking, including the contrast between the meaning representational functions of “object-focused” movements (gestures) and the speaker-centered, thought-organizing functions of “body-focused” movements.

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                                                                                                    • Goldin-Meadow, Susan. 2003. Hearing gesture: How our hands help us think. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                      This book provides an account of Goldin-Meadow’s research, which has led her to the view that co-speech gestures may play a role in the process by which a speaker formulates ideas for verbal expression.

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                                                                                                      • Kendon, Adam. 1985. Some uses of gestures. In Perspectives on Silence. Edited by Deborah Tannen and Muriel Saville-Troika, 215–234. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.

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                                                                                                        Based on observations collected from everyday interactions, this paper offers a survey of the various ways speakers use gesture in conversation.

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                                                                                                        • Kendon, Adam, 1986. Some reasons for studying gesture. Semiotica 62.1–2: 3–28.

                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1515/semi.1986.62.1-2.3Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                          A widely cited survey of the various issues the study of gesture can throw light upon. Contains a summary of Kendon’s theoretical views.

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                                                                                                          • Kita, Sotaro. 2000. How representational gestures help speaking. In Language and gesture. Edited by David McNeill, 162–185. Language, Culture, and Cognition 2. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511620850Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                            An argument that speakers use gestures as a part of the process of thought articulation that is involved in making spoken formulation possible.

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                                                                                                            • Krauss, R. M., Y. Chen, and R. F. Gottesman. 2000. Lexical gestures and lexical access: A process model. In Language and Gesture. Edited by David McNeill, 261–283. Language, Culture, and Cognition 2. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511620850Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                              Summarizes findings that suggest that some gestures may play a role in “lexical retrieval” and offers a theoretical model to account for this.

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                                                                                                              • McNeill, David. 1985. So you think gestures are nonverbal? Psychological Review 92:350–371.

                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1037/0033-295X.92.3.350Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                One of the first major papers by McNeill in which he shows how co-speech gestures express the conceptual content of utterances, raising implications for theories of utterance production and issues about the relationship between speech and thinking.

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                                                                                                                • McNeill, David. 2005. Gesture and thought. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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                                                                                                                  This book continues the development of the view first expressed in McNeill 1992 (cited under General Overviews) that the gestures speakers produce while speaking manifest imagistic thinking as an integral part of the processes involved in utterance production. Utterances emerge from an “unfolding” of a psychological unit (or “growth point”), which is an “ideational package” simultaneously imagistic and linguistic in form. The utterance as a speaker produces it is the outcome of a dialectic between these two modes of expression.

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                                                                                                                  • Rimé, Bernard, and Loris Schiaratura. 1991. Gesture and speech: Fundamentals of nonverbal behavior. In Fundamentals of nonverbal behavior: Studies in emotion and social interaction. Edited by R. S. Feldman and Bernard Rimé, 239–281. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                    A useful review of the main theories about the relationship between gesture and speech up to 1990. The summary exposition of the positions of Norbert Freedman, David McNeill, and Adam Kendon is very clear. The authors themselves regard gesture as an auxiliary to the speaking process and offer observations pertinent to this idea.

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                                                                                                                    Conceptual Expression

                                                                                                                    How speakers’ gestures express conceptual meaning is explored from a semiotic point of view in Calbris 1990 and Calbris 2003 and from the point of view of conceptual metaphor theory in Cienki and Müller 2008 and Müller 2008.

                                                                                                                    • Calbris, Geneviève. 1990. The semiotics of French gesture. Advances in Semiotics. Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                      An analysis, from a semiotic point of view, of the ways co-speech gestures serve as vehicles of meaning. Drawing on numerous observations of gesture use in everyday conversation, Calbris shows how speakers express abstract ideas in gesture, using visual forms that exploit parallelisms between content and form, moving from concrete representation to abstract meanings through visual metaphor.

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                                                                                                                      • Calbris, Geneviève. 2003. From cutting an object to a clear cut analysis: Gesture as the representation of a preconceptual schema linking concrete actions to abstract notions. Gesture 3.1: 19–46.

                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1075/gest.3.1.03calSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                        An analysis of the conceptual schema that unites the various kinds of “cutting” gestures (rapid transverse or downward vertical motion of the hand shaped like a blade) and how this may be understood as an abstraction from acts of cutting in the physical world.

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                                                                                                                        • Cienki, Alan, and Cornelia Müller, eds. 2008. Metaphor and gesture. Papers presented at a conference held in Logroño, Spain, in 2003. Gesture Studies 3. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

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                                                                                                                          A collection of papers exploring the ways, in gesture, speakers may express metaphorical ideas. Gesture is seen as important for how it may reveal the conceptual metaphors of speakers and thus throw light on the way thinking is organized.

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                                                                                                                          • Müller, Cornelia. 2008. Metaphors dead and alive, sleeping and waking: A dynamic view. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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                                                                                                                            A wide-ranging exploration of theories of metaphor that also includes discussion of the importance and relevance of gestural expression for understanding how speakers make dynamic use of metaphor in everyday speech.

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                                                                                                                            Language-Specific Influences on Gestural Expression

                                                                                                                            Since gestures and speech are closely related temporally and semantically, studies have begun to explore how speakers’ gestures may vary in relation to the grammatical and semantic structure of the language spoken. McNeill and Duncan 2000 shows differences in gesture-speech organization among speakers of three different languages; similar observations are reported in Kita and Ozyürek 2003; Ozyürek, et al. 2005; and Gullberg 2011, which also contains a review.

                                                                                                                            • Gullberg, Marianne. 2011. Language-specific encoding of placement events in gestures. In Event representation in language and cognition. Edited by Eric Pederson and Jürgen Bohnemeyer, 166–188. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                              This paper contains an up-to-date review of the findings from studies exploring the way lexical and grammatical features of spoken language may influence how the speaker gestures.

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                                                                                                                              • Kita, Sotaro, and Asli Ozyürek. 2003. What does cross-linguistic variation in semantic coordination of speech and gesture reveal? Evidence for an interface representation of spatial thinking and speaking. Journal of Memory and Language 48.1: 16–32.

                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1016/S0749-596X(02)00505-3Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                Presents a study comparing English, Japanese, and Turkish speakers describing a scene from a cartoon and the gestures they employ. Suggests that the gestures used may differ in relation to how verbs in the respective spoken languages differ in how they incorporate “manner” and “path” of action. The authors propose an “interface” model for explaining the relationship between gesture and speech.

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                                                                                                                                • McNeill, David, and Susan Duncan. 2000. Growth points in thinking-for-speaking. In Language and Gesture. Edited by David McNeill, 141–161. Language, Culture, and Cognition 2. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511620850.010Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                  Explains the theory of the “growth point” as an explanation for the gesture-speech relationship but includes observations of how gesturing may differ according to the language of the speaker. Includes observations on speakers of English, Spanish, and Mandarin.

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                                                                                                                                  • Ozyürek, Asli, Sotaro Kita, Shanley Allen, Reyhan Furman, and Amanda Brown. 2005. How does linguistic framing of events influence co-speech gestures? Insights from crosslinguistic variations and similarities. Gesture 5.1–2: 219–240.

                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1075/gest.5.1.15ozySave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                    Compares English and Turkish speakers as they describe different motion events using speech and gesture, showing certain differences in gesture use that reflect differences in how English and Turkish encode features of motion verbally. Implications for the influence of language-specific encoding on thinking patterns during speech and how gesture and speech interact during speech are discussed.

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                                                                                                                                    In Conversation

                                                                                                                                    How and when is gesture used in conversation, what role does it play in its process, and how may gesture, in partnership with speech, enter into the construction of utterances? Goodwin and Goodwin 1992 examines in detail the integration of speech, gesture, practical actions, and spatial maneuvering while adults eat dinner, and Goodwin 2000 undertakes similarly detailed analysis of an occasion when children play hopscotch or archaeologists discuss soil samples. Heath 1992 shows how gesture and speech are integrated in doctor-patient interviews, Haviland 2000 describes the use of pointing in narration, and Kimbara 2006 describes how speakers repeat each other’s gestures as a way of displaying understanding. Enfield 2009 shows how utterances can be constructed as gesture-speech composites in conversation.

                                                                                                                                    • Enfield, N. J. 2009. The anatomy of meaning: Speech, gesture, and composite utterances. Language, Culture, and Cognition 8. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511576737Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                      A series of original field studies with the Lao of Southeast Asia that show how utterances are “composite” in the sense that, in addition to words, they are embedded in immediate interactional situations and are composed of bodily movements and orientations of various kinds, which play crucial roles in the way the utterance, as an interactional move, comes to have meaning.

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                                                                                                                                      • Goodwin, Charles. 2000. Action and embodiment within situated human interaction. Journal of Pragmatics 32:1489–1522.

                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1016/S0378-2166(99)00096-XSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                        An analysis of a dispute between two young girls participating in a game of hopscotch and an analysis of two archaeologists coming to agree on the color of a soil sample provide vehicles for showing how the multiple, diverse semiotic resources of talk, bodily stance and action, and spatial maneuvering and gesture are orchestrated together in the creation of episodes of social interaction.

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                                                                                                                                        • Goodwin, Charles, and Marjorie Harkness Goodwin. 1992. Context, activity, and participation. In The contextualization of language. Edited by Peter Auer and Aldo di Luzio, 78–99. Pragmatics and Beyond. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

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                                                                                                                                          Analyzes how participants in occasions of interaction are involved in multiple participation frameworks simultaneously, showing how the different ways talk, gesture, and practical activities (such as serving and eating food) are organized in relation to one another, reciprocally defining the contexts of the various aspects of the ongoing activities and hence shaping their meanings.

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                                                                                                                                          • Haviland, J. B. 2000. Pointing, gesture spaces, and mental maps. In Language and Gesture. Edited by David McNeill, 13–46. Language, Culture, and Cognition 2. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511620850Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                            An analysis of the way speakers use gestures to construct notional spaces and make reference to locations within these spaces as well as to refer to spaces in the physical world.

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                                                                                                                                            • Heath, Christian. 1992. Gesture’s discrete tasks: Multiple relevancies in visual conduct in the contextualization of language. In The Contextualization of Language. Edited by Peter Auer and Aldo di Luzio, 102–127. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

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                                                                                                                                              An example illustrating how, in face-to-face interaction, the kinesic and spoken modalities are integrated. Based on the analysis of video recordings of patient-doctor interactions in the doctor’s office.

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                                                                                                                                              • Kimbara, I. 2006. On gestural mimicry. Gesture 6:39–61.

                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1075/gest.6.1.03kimSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                An examination of instances in which conversationalists may sometimes repeat each other’s gestures, and the significance of this for the communication process.

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                                                                                                                                                Information Value of Speakers’ Gestures

                                                                                                                                                The question of whether and how speakers’ gestures may have value for recipients in influencing recipients’ interpretations of speakers’ utterances has been debated by gesture researchers. Kendon 1994 provides a review of the issue up to 1994. Beattie and Shovelton 2001 and Holler and Beattie 2003 exemplify experimental attempts to sort out what information might be carried by gestures. Melinger and Levelt 2004 shows how speakers can vary in the way they encode information in the two modalities.

                                                                                                                                                Gesture Conventionalization

                                                                                                                                                In all societies, repertoires of conventional gestures are found. These have been called “emblems” (following the suggestion in Ekman and Friesen 1969, cited under 20th-Century Developments), “symbolic gestures,” and a number of other terms. They include gestures that people may be able to quote when asked to and that are often considered to have standard meanings, so that they have also been called “quotable gestures.” Sometimes they are associated with set phrases and constitute the kinesic version of a formulaic expression. These gestures have occasionally attracted the interest of folklorists and dialectologists. Some teachers of foreign languages have suggested that they should be taught with the language being taught, and efforts to compile repertoires for teaching purposes have been made. Perhaps surprisingly, however, there are few systematic scholarly investigations of them.

                                                                                                                                                “Dictionaries” of Conventional Gestures

                                                                                                                                                Some publications give lists of conventionalized gestures, sometimes treating them as if they were words (as if to create dictionaries of them). Often these dictionaries are written for wide audiences and are not very scholarly. They rarely provide information about how the gestures listed were obtained, who uses them, or the circumstances of their use. Saitz and Cervenka 1972 lists North American and Colombian gestures, and Meo Zilio and Meija 1980 and Meo Zilio and Meija 1983 comprise a large dictionary of Spanish and Hispano-American gestures. Monahan 1983 describes some Russian gestures, and Diadori 1990 lists some common Italian gestures. Poggi 2007 discusses theoretical issues surrounding the development of a gesture dictionary for Italian.

                                                                                                                                                • Diadori, Pierangela. 1990. Senza parole: 100 gesti degli italiani. Italiano per Stranieri. Rome: Bonacci Editore.

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                                                                                                                                                  A description of one hundred common Italian gestures, grouped according to theme, which are illustrated both with drawings and with examples as depicted in newspaper photographs and advertisements. Intended for use by foreigners learning Italian.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Meo Zilio, G., and S. Mejia. 1980. Diccionario de gestos: España e Hispanoamérica. Vol. 1. Bogotá, Colombia: Instituto Caro y Cuervo.

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                                                                                                                                                    The first volume of one of the largest gesture “dictionaries” listing Spanish and Hispano-American gestures. Meo Zilio was an Italian dialectologist who worked extensively on interrelationships between Spanish and varieties of Italian in Hispanic America. Gestures are described in detail with many variants, each example with a photograph. Indexed according to semantic labels.

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                                                                                                                                                    • Meo Zilio, G., and S. Mejia. 1983. Diccionario de gestos: España e Hispanoamérica. Vol. 2, I–Z. Bogotá, Colombia: Instituto Caro y Cuervo.

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                                                                                                                                                      The second volume of one of the largest gesture “dictionaries” listing Spanish and Hispano-American gestures.

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                                                                                                                                                      • Monahan, B. 1983. A dictionary of Russian gesture. Ann Arbor, MI: Hermitage.

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                                                                                                                                                        A compilation of more than seventy gestural expressions in common use among Russians, illustrated with photographs and with careful descriptions of their use. The descriptions are organized thematically. Inspired by the idea that in learning Russian, gestures in common use must also be understood.

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                                                                                                                                                        • Poggi, Isabella. 2007. Mind, hands, face, and body: A goal and belief view of multimodal communication. Berlin: Weidler Buchverlag.

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                                                                                                                                                          This is a general work, but chapters 17–24 provide a detailed account of the author’s attempt to create a “gestionary” for an Italian repertoire of gestures.

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                                                                                                                                                          • Saitz, R. L., and E. J. Cervenka. 1972. Handbook of gestures: Colombia and the United States. Approaches to Semiotics 31. The Hague: Mouton.

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                                                                                                                                                            A comparative listing of conventional gestures in use among English speakers in the United States and among Spanish speakers from Colombia.

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                                                                                                                                                            Discussions of Conventional Gestures

                                                                                                                                                            In addition to attempts to create lists, a few scholars have explored the nature of conventionalized gestures, discussing their histories and origins and comparing how they function in communication. Morris, et al. 1979 is an interesting attempt to survey differences in meaning and use of selected conventional gestures across Europe, and Kendon 1981 and Kendon 1984 are critical discussions of conventionalization in gesture. Hanna 1996 explores definitional problems. Payrató 2008 is a survey of work done on conventional gestures in Iberian countries.

                                                                                                                                                            • Hanna, Barbara E. 1996. Defining the emblem. Semiotica 112.3–4: 289–358.

                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1515/semi.1996.112.3-4.289Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                              A long and painstaking discussion of what might be meant by “emblem,” beginning with its definition as a kind of conventionalized gesture in Efron 1972 and Ekman and Friesen 1969 (both cited under 20th-Century Developments). Draws on research on uses of conventional gestures among Australians and includes discussions of theoretical issues regarding communication, what is to count as a “gesture,” and more.

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                                                                                                                                                              • Kendon, Adam. 1981. Geography of gesture. Semiotica 37.1–2: 129–163.

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                                                                                                                                                                A critical essay on Morris, et al. 1979 that offers a number of reflections and insights into the nature of conventionalized gestures.

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                                                                                                                                                                • Kendon, Adam. 1984. Did gesture have the happiness to escape the curse at the confusion of Babel? In Nonverbal behavior: Perspectives, applications, intercultural insights. Edited by Aaron Wolfgang, 75–114. Lewiston, NY: C. J. Hogrefe.

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                                                                                                                                                                  A comprehensive review of the problem of cross-cultural variation in gesture, including a discussion of many studies concerned with conventionalized forms.

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                                                                                                                                                                  • Morris, Desmond, Peter Collett, Peter Marsh, and Marie O’Shaughnessy. 1979. Gestures: Their origins and distribution. London: Jonathan Cape.

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                                                                                                                                                                    An interesting attempt to survey the use of selected gestures in different parts of Europe. Contains much discussion on the origin and nature of conventionalized gestures.

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                                                                                                                                                                    • Payrató, Lluís. 2008. Past, present, and future research on emblems in the Hispanic tradition: Preliminary and methodological considerations. Gesture 8.1: 5–21.

                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1075/gest.8.1.03paySave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                      A very useful if brief survey of work done on conventional gestures within Iberian countries, with special reference to relations between Catalan and Spanish gestures. Contains a valuable bibliography.

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                                                                                                                                                                      Context-of-Use Studies of Specific Conventional Gestures

                                                                                                                                                                      There are few ethnographically and linguistically sophisticated studies of how specific conventionalized gestures are used. Sherzer 1991 reports on field studies in urban Brazil on the use of the “thumbs-up” gesture, and Payrató 1993 describes Catalonian emblems. Brookes 2001 and Brookes 2004 are most valuable as field studies of gesture use among youth in black townships in South Africa. Seyfeddinipur 2004, Müller 2004, and Neumann 2004 are further examples of well-conducted studies of specific gestural expressions in their everyday use.

                                                                                                                                                                      • Brookes, Heather J. 2001. O clever “He’s streetwise”: When gestures become quotable; The case of the clever gesture. Gesture 1.2: 167–184.

                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1075/gest.1.2.05broSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                        A context-of-use study of a single gesture, based on video recordings of everyday interactions as well as on extensive fieldwork.

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                                                                                                                                                                        • Brookes, Heather J. 2004. A repertoire of South African quotable gestures. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 14.2: 186–224.

                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1525/jlin.2004.14.2.186Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                          An examination of the repertoire of “quotable” gestures in common use in a community of black urban South Africans, with an analysis of their interactional functions in everyday conversations. Based on fieldwork using video recordings, the study shows how gestures are embedded in conversation and the communicative work they do.

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Müller, C. 2004. Forms and uses of the palm up open hand: A case of a gesture family? In The semantics and pragmatics of everyday gestures: Proceedings of the Berlin Conference. Edited by C. Müller and R. Posner, 233–256. Körper, Zeichen, Kultur 9. Berlin: Weidler Buchverlag.

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                                                                                                                                                                            A context-of-use study of the “palm up open hand” and its variants, discussing the idea that gestures are best thought of as being organized in “families.” Paper delivered at a conference held in Berlin in 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                                            • Neumann, Ragnhild. 2004. The conventionalization of the ring gesture in German discourse. In The semantics and pragmatics of everyday gestures: Proceedings of the Berlin Conference. Edited by C. Müller and R. Posner, 216–224. Körper, Zeichen, Kultur 9. Berlin: Weidler Buchverlag.

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                                                                                                                                                                              A context-of-use study of a specific hand shape in German conversations. Paper delivered at a conference held in Berlin in 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                                              • Payrató, Lluís. 1993. A pragmatic view on autonomous gestures: A first repertoire of Catalan emblems. Journal of Pragmatics 20.3: 193–216.

                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1016/0378-2166(93)90046-RSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                An analysis of the pragmatic functions of conventional gestures from Catalonia. Available online to subscribers.

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                                                                                                                                                                                • Seyfeddinipur, Mandana. 2004. Meta-discursive gestures from Iran: Some uses of the “pistol hand.” In The semantics and pragmatics of everyday gestures: Proceedings of the Berlin Conference. Edited by C. Müller and R. Posner, 205–216. Körper, Zeichen, Kultur 9. Berlin: Weidler Buchverlag.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  A context-of-use study of a specific hand shape in everyday Persian conversation. Based on analyses of video recordings of conversations in natural settings. Paper delivered at a conference held in Berlin in 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  • Sherzer, Joel. 1991. The Brazilian thumbs-up gesture. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 1.2: 189–197.

                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1525/jlin.1991.1.2.189Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                    An exemplary context-of-use study of the “thumbs-up” gesture as used in urban Brazil.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    Sign Languages

                                                                                                                                                                                    The gesturing of speaker-hearers and the signing of the deaf are both manifestations of “gesture” as this is broadly conceived. In earlier times the words “sign” and “gesture” were used interchangeably (Kendon 2008, cited under Relationships between “Sign” and “Gesture”). Yet, as has been extensively demonstrated, the sign languages used in deaf communities—American Sign Language (ASL), Italian Sign Language (LIS), British Sign Language (BSL), and so forth—are fully organized languages (Klima and Bellugi 1979; Valli, et al. 2005; Brentari 2010, all cited under Characteristics of Primary Sign Language), and this has led to an attempt by some to maintain a sharp distinction between “sign” and “gesture.” However, since there are many parallels in strategies of expression using visible bodily action between speaker-hearers and users of sign languages, this distinction is not as rigid as it might appear. It is also well known that, in certain circumstances, speaker-hearers can shift to a language-like organization in their gesturing. For example, when certain work settings make the use of speech impossible or impractical, systems of codified gestures are sometimes established as a replacement for speech. This has been reported in certain work environments in Western cultures (Meissner and Philpott 1975, cited under Alternate Sign Languages) and also for certain hunter-gatherer groups who may use gesture systems in hunting. Among some peoples, the use of speech may be avoided for ritual reasons, as among certain indigenous Australian groups, the indigenous peoples of North America, or certain Christian monastic orders (Kendon 1988, Umiker-Sebeok and Sebeok 1987, Bruce 2007, Mallery 1972, Farnell 1995, Davis 2010, all cited under Alternate Sign Languages). Under such circumstances, very elaborate language-like systems using visible bodily action may be developed. These have been referred to as “alternate sign languages” to distinguish them from the primary sign languages elaborated among the deaf, who have no direct access to spoken language. In comparing these systems, one should consider how differences in their complexity are related to the communicative functions they serve, and in the case of alternate sign languages, one should consider how the system is related to the spoken language of the users (Kendon 1988, cited under Alternate Sign Languages).

                                                                                                                                                                                    Characteristics of Primary Sign Language

                                                                                                                                                                                    The study of primary sign languages has developed as a separate field and is not covered in this article. Nevertheless, a few introductions are in order, focused on what has come to be understood about the basic characteristics of these languages. Klima and Bellugi 1979 is a fundamental pioneering study; Valli, et al. 2005 is a systematic textbook describing American Sign Language; and Brentari 2010 is a collection of linguistic descriptions of primary sign languages from many parts of the world.

                                                                                                                                                                                    • Brentari, Diane, ed. 2010. Sign languages. Cambridge Language Surveys. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      A compendium of articles covering the history and transmission of primary sign languages in Europe, Latin America, and Africa; cross-linguistic characteristics; and variation and change in sign languages in various parts of the world, including the emerging sign language of Nicaragua and newly established sign languages in Israel and among the Al-Sayyid Bedouin.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      • Klima, Edward, and Ursula Bellugi. 1979. The signs of language. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        This book set the framework for much subsequent work on sign languages and is still worthwhile, since its insights into the nature of sign language—in this book American Sign Language—remain valid. This is a scholarly book but written in a highly accessible style.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        • Valli, Clayton, Ceil Lucas, and Kristin J. Mulroony. 2005. Linguistics of American sign language: An introduction. 4th ed. Washington, DC: Gallaudet Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          A “standard” introduction to American Sign Language linguistics. Provides a good bibliography to much recent research.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          Relationships between “Sign” and “Gesture”

                                                                                                                                                                                          Because there are many overlaps between forms of expression in sign language and forms of expression in speakers’ gestures, many difficulties arise in establishing criteria differentiating “sign” from “gesture.” Goldin-Meadow, et al. 1996 describes experiments that show how speakers may shift from speaker gestures to sign-like expressions; Emmorey 1999 describes how signers often use nonstandardized gesture-like expressions; Okrent 2002 is an insightful discussion questioning if and how distinctions between “sign” and “gesture” might be made; and Liddell 2003 shows how “analog” descriptions are necessary as part of the grammatical description of a sign language. Duncan 2005 shows how signs may be inflected or modified in expressive ways; Schembri, et al. 2005 shows how nonsigners may use expressions very similar to signers; Fusellier-Souza 2006 describes an “emergent sign language” and shows how pantomimic and other iconic expressions may transform into codified structures; and Vermeerbergen and Demey 2007 compares simultaneous constructions in sign discourse with constructions in speaker discourse where gesture is also used. Kendon 2008 explores the history of the distinction between “gesture” and “sign” and suggests an approach that transcends this distinction.

                                                                                                                                                                                          • Duncan, Susan. 2005. Gesture in signing: A case study from Taiwan Sign Language. Language and Linguistics 6.2: 279–318.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            Examples of Taiwanese sign language discourse are analyzed to show how signs may undergo analog or “gesture-like” modifications.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            • Emmorey, Karen. 1999. Do signers gesture? In Gesture, speech, and sign. Edited by Lynn S. Messing and Ruth Campbell, 133–159. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              An account of how deaf signers may employ nonstandard kinesic expressions as part of their discourse.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              • Fusellier-Souza, Ivani. 2006. Emergence and development of signed languages: From a semiogenic point of view. Sign Language Studies 7.1: 30–56.

                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1353/sls.2006.0030Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                Analyses of signing in four Brazilian “emergent sign language” users, showing how highly iconic structures and lexical signs participate in utterance construction and how highly iconic structures are foundational in the creation of lexical signs. The semiogenic approach of Cuxac explained in this book proposes entirely general processes for language emergence, which could also be applied in the analysis of gesture-speech ensembles in speakers. Available online to subscribers.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                • Goldin-Meadow, Susan, David McNeill, and Jenny Singleton. 1996. Silence is liberating: Removing the handcuffs on grammatical expression in the manual modality. Psychological Review 103.1: 34–55.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1037/0033-295X.103.1.34Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                  A discussion of the semiotic contrasts among spoken language, co-speech gesture, and manual signs, and the circumstances in which gestures may acquire linguistic characteristics. Experiments are described in which speakers who know no sign language explain scenes or tell stories using gesture alone, showing how rapidly gestures in the absence of speech alter to acquire language-like properties.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Kendon, Adam. 2008. Some reflections on the relationship between “gesture” and “sign.” Gesture 8.3: 348–366.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1075/gest.8.3.05kenSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                    A history of the uses of the terms “gesture” and “sign” since the 19th century and of how the contemporary distinction between them arose. Argues for a comparative analysis of the semiotic properties of visible bodily action when used as a part of utterance in speakers and in signers as a way to resolve the definitional and theoretical debates that have plagued late-20th- and early-21st-century discussions about the differences between “gesture” and “sign.”

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Liddell, Scott K. 2003. Grammar, gesture, and meaning in American sign language. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      An exposition of the grammar of American Sign Language that includes the argument that there are expressive devices essential to this grammar that cannot be analyzed as if they are categorical morphemes but must be treated as “gestural” with “analog” or “gradient” characteristics.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Okrent, Arika. 2002. A modality free notion of gesture and how it can help us with the morpheme vs. gesture question in sign language linguistics (or at least give us some criteria to work with). In Modality and structure in signed and spoken languages. Edited by R. P. Meier, K. Cormier, and D. Quinto-Pozos, 175–198. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511486777.009Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                        An interesting discussion of similarities and differences between speakers’ co-speech gestures and signs, with an attempt to establish criteria for when gestural expressions can be said to have linguistic features.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Schembri, A., C. Jones, and D. Burnham. 2005. Comparing action gestures and classifier verbs of motion: Evidence from Australian Sign Language, Taiwan Sign Language, and nonsigners’ gestures without speech. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education 10.3: 272–290.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1093/deafed/eni029Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                          An experimental study comparing gestured expressions of motion events, suggesting that “classifiers” are very similar to forms of expression that nonsigners create.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Vermeerbergen, M., and E. Demey. 2007. Sign + gesture = speech + gesture. In Simultaneity in signed languages: Form and function. Edited by M. Vermeerbergen, L. Leeson, and O. Crasborn, 257–282. Amsterdam Studies in the Theory and History of Linguistic Science Series 4: Current Issues in Linguistic Theory. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            An attempt to compare certain “simultaneous” constructions in Flemish Sign Language with the co-occurrence of gestural and spoken expressions in Flemish speakers.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            Alternate Sign Languages

                                                                                                                                                                                                            In circumstances where speech is impossible for environmental reasons, as in certain work situations, gesture systems may be created that can at times be quite elaborate. Meissner and Philpott 1975 provides an account of such a system in a British Columbia sawmill. Certain monastic orders restrict spoken communication, and in many cases, sometimes over periods of centuries, gesture systems have come into existence that may be sufficiently complex to be referred to as alternate sign languages. Umiker-Sebeok and Sebeok 1987 is an anthology of many older descriptions of these systems, Barakat 1975 is a full-scale investigation of one such system in current use, and Bruce 2007 is a detailed historical study of the monastic sign language developed at Cluny in France in the late Middle Ages. Alternate sign languages have also been reported from among the Plains Indians of North America, first described in detail in Mallery 1972. Farnell 1995 is a modern study of sign use in traditional narration among the Assiniboine, and Davis 2010 is a detailed, broad discussion and analysis of these sign languages. Kendon 1988 is the only comprehensive study of the extremely complex sign languages elaborated among the indigenous people of central Australia, where its development is related to mourning rituals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Barakat, R. A. 1975. Cistercian sign language: A study in non-verbal communication. Cistercian Studies 11. Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              A study of the sign language as used at St. Joseph’s Abbey, a Cistercian monastery in Massachusetts. Includes a historical discussion, an extensive list of signs authorized by the order, those additional signs authorized by St. Joseph’s Abbey, and many of the informal signs in use.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Bruce, Scott G. 2007. Silence and sign language in medieval monasticism: The Cluniac tradition c. 900–1200. Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and Thought 4.68. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511496417Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Examines the nature and meaning of silence in medieval religious communities, focusing especially on the abbey of Cluny, where the first monastic system of manual communication was developed. The book explains why this manual language was created and how it worked within the context of the abbey as a social community, whose members practiced rigorous religious discipline.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Davis, Jeffrey E. 2010. Hand talk: Sign language among American Indian nations. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  An up-to-date account of the history and current status of American Indian sign language, including an extensive discussion of its linguistic structure and its relationships to primary (deaf) sign languages.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Farnell, Brenda. 1995. Do you see what I mean? Plains Indian sign talk and the embodiment of action. Austin: Univ. of Texas Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A study of Assiniboine (Nakotka) storytelling, in which extensive use is made of Plains Indian sign language. Analysis of how the signed and spoken components function together. Includes a critique of the concept of language and the role of bodily action in expression. Important for the use of Laban script, which allows the transcription of expressive bodily action without mediation of verbal descriptions.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Kendon, Adam. 1988. Sign languages of Aboriginal Australia: Cultural, semiotic, and communicative perspectives. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The only comprehensive discussion of Aboriginal sign languages, including historical and ethnographic data as well as linguistic analyses that involved extensive original field research; shows how these sign languages are related structurally to the spoken languages of the Aborigines of the central desert areas of Australia. Discusses the ecological conditions favoring sign language use among Aborigines. Other alternate and primary sign languages are compared.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Mallery, Garrick. 1972. Sign language among North American Indians compared with that among other peoples and deaf mutes. Approaches to Semiotics 14. The Hague: Mouton.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        This book is a comprehensive overview of what was then known (in 1881, when the book was first published) about gesture in general, including extended extracts from Mallery’s collection of signs from the Plains Indian sign language. It remains perhaps the most comprehensive book on gesture from the 19th century. Photomechanical reprint of the first annual report of the Bureau of Ethnology to the secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Meissner, M., and S. B. Philpott. 1975. The sign language of sawmill workers in British Columbia. Sign Language Studies 9:291–308.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          One of the only detailed studies of a system of gestures or signs used to overcome communication problems within a work setting where the use of speech was impossible. Includes a careful analysis of the setting and circumstances of the use of this system as well as detailed descriptions of more than two hundred of the signs employed.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Umiker-Sebeok, Jean, and T. A. Sebeok, eds. 1987. Monastic sign languages. Approaches to Semiotics 76. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1515/9783110865028Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            An anthology that contains reprints of some of the original descriptions of monastic sign languages, including a reprint of Barakat 1975.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Language Development

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            From the sixth decade of the 20th century on, there was a great expansion in studies of how infants acquire spoken language, but with the expansion of the use of audiovisual recording techniques, it soon became apparent that infants and their mothers or other caretakers, before the emergence of speech, were already engaged together in complex interactional exchanges. This came to be seen as the context in which spoken language would emerge. Researchers recognized that a child could be engaging in symbolic communication using visible bodily action even before he or she could use speech. This recognition stimulated a great expansion of studies of infants and very young children to examine the interrelationship between the development of use gesture and the development of speech. This is now a very active field of research. Listed in this subsection are selected early collected works that provided the framework for subsequent developments (Lock 1978; Bates, et al. 1979; Volterra and Erting 1994), followed by more-recent surveys of current research by Virginia Volterra and colleagues in Rome (Volterra, et al. 2005) and by Susan Goldin-Meadow and colleagues in Chicago (Goldin-Meadow 2003, Goldin-Meadow 2009), whose work is representative of much in this field. Capone and McGregor 2004 and Gullberg, et al. 2008 are useful reviews. Colletta 2004 is one of the few studies that focus on gesture and language development in older children.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Bates, E., L. Benigni, I. Bretherton, L. Camaioni, and V. Volterra. 1979. The emergence of symbols: Cognition and communication in infancy. Language, Thought, and Culture. New York: Academic.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              An influential study of cognition and communication in infancy that provided a framework for much subsequent work on how human communication emerges in infancy through interaction and does not wait for speech.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Capone, N. C., and K. K. McGregor. 2004. Gesture development: A review for clinical and research practices. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research 47.1: 173–186.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1044/1092-4388(2004/015)Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A valuable review of studies of the development of the use of gesture in relation to speech in very young children.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Colletta, Jean-Marc. 2004. Le développement de la parole chez l’enfant âgé de 6 à 11 ans: Corps, langage et cognition. Psychologie et Sciences Humaines 254. Sprimont, Belgium: Pierre Mardaga.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Includes detailed studies of the development of kinesics in relation to the emergence of narrative competence in children between the ages of six and eleven years.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Goldin-Meadow, Susan. 2003. The resilience of language: What gesture creation in deaf children can tell us about how all children learn language. Essays in Developmental Psychology. New York: Psychology.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    An account of Goldin-Meadow’s studies of children born deaf but raised by hearing parents who have avoided any contact with sign language. Goldin-Meadow’s observations show that these children create a systematic gesture system, a sort of embryonic sign language, the properties of which may reveal general features of the language faculty.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Goldin-Meadow, Susan. 2009. Using the hands to study how children learn language. In Infant pathways to language: Methods, models, and research directions. Edited by J. Colombo, P. McCardle, and L. Freund, 195–210. New York: Taylor and Francis.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      An article that summarizes Goldin-Meadow’s extensive work on the development of gesture in relation to the development of speech.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Gullberg, Marianne, Kees de Bot, and Virginia Volterra. 2008. Gestures and some key issues in the study of language development. In Special Issue: Gestures in Language Development. Edited by M. Gullberg and K. de Bot. Gesture 8.2: 149–179.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1075/gest.8.2.03gulSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A survey of some theoretical issues in the study of language development, including the question whether studying the development of gestures is of value in this context.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Lock, Andrew, ed. 1978. Action, gesture, and symbol: The emergence of language. New York: Academic.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A pioneering collection of papers that address the continuity between visible bodily actions in infant-adult interaction and the emergence of gesture, and how this provides for the development of spoken language. An important contribution to the evolving idea of continuity among action, gesture, and verbal symbol, both ontogenetically and phylogenetically. E-book.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Volterra, Virginia, and Carol J. Erting, eds. 1994. From gesture to language in hearing and deaf children. Washington, DC: Gallaudet Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            An important collection of research papers that were among the first to report on the importance of early gestural communication in very young children. Examines both deaf and hearing children and provides evidence that the capacity for symbolic expression develops in the same way in both the gestural and the vocal modality.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Volterra, Virginia, Maria Cristina Caselli, Olga Capirci, and Elena Pizzuto. 2005. Gesture and the emergence and development of language. In Beyond nature–nurture. Essays in honor of Elizabeth Bates. Edited by M. Tomasello and D. I. Slobin, 3–40. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A useful survey of much of the research on gesture and language development in hearing children, atypically developing hearing children, and deaf children, by Virginia Volterra and her associates in Rome.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Pointing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Using the hand to point is one of the earliest acts of symbolic communication an infant engages in, and much attention has been paid to this gesture over a long period of time. Some important studies are listed here. Kita 2003 is a collection of papers on pointing, including pointing in adults. Pizzuto and Capobianco 2007; Tomasello, et al. 2007; and Cochet and Vauclair 2010 illustrate developments in the study of pointing and its relation to language in very young children. All selections include good reviews of the literature on this topic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Cochet, Hélène, and Jacques Vauclair. 2010. Pointing gesture in young children: Hand preference and language development. Gesture 10.2–3: 129–149.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1075/gest.10.2-3.02cocSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Reviews much work on pointing in infants and explores the relationship between the neurology of its control with the development of capacity for language.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Kita, Sotaro, ed. 2003. Pointing: Where language, culture, and cognition meet. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A collection of papers on pointing in everyday interactions among adults in conversational situations and in different cultures, in infants, and in sign language. One article on pointing in chimpanzees is also included. E-book.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Pizzuto, E., and M. Capobianco. 2007. The link and differences between deixis and symbols in children’s early gestural-vocal system. In Gestural communication in nonhuman and human primates. Edited by K. Liebal, C. Müller, and S. Pika, 163–181. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A longitudinal study of six children between twelve and twenty-four months old shows that speech and gesture interrelationships in the first place involve pointing gestures, whereas representational abilities involving gestures are quite restricted. The study emphasizes the importance of distinguishing deictic gestures from representational gestures in studies of gesture and language in very young children.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Tomasello, Michael, Malinda Carpenter, and Ulf Liszkowski. 2007. A new look at infant pointing. Child Development 78.3: 705–722.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2007.01025.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      An examination of the way pointing in infants is to be understood in terms of infants’ skills in cooperation and shared intentionality.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Gesture in Nonhuman Primates

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Since the growth of much more detailed knowledge of the ecology and social behavior of apes and monkeys as a result of a great expansion of field observational studies from the 1960s on and with the revival of interest in the emergence of language in humans, a good deal of interest has developed in comparing gesture use in apes and monkeys and comparing this with human gesture use. Most of this work has been done with apes. Tanner and Byrne 1996 and Tanner 2004 describe gestural communication among gorillas, emphasizing how gestures work in the process of interaction. King 2004 is an essay on bodily communication in great apes; Call and Tomasello 2007 reports detailed systematic observations on gesture repertoires in all ape species and one monkey; and Arbib, et al. 2008 includes a useful review of recent work on gestural communication in apes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Arbib, Michael A., Katja Liebal, and Simone Pika. 2008. Primate vocalization, gesture, and the evolution of human language. Current Anthropology 49.6: 1053–1076.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1086/593015Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Provides a useful review of recent observations on vocal communication and gesture communication among nonhuman primates. Argues that ape gestural communication shows flexibility not found in vocal communication, suggesting that gesture may have been the first modality to develop language functions.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Call, Josep, and Michael Tomasello, eds. 2007. The gestural communication of apes and monkeys. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Six chapters by separate authors describe, respectively, the gestural repertoire of the chimpanzee, the bonobo, the orangutan, the gorilla, the siamang (gibbon), and the Barbary ape (Macaca sylvans) as revealed in observation studies that followed parallel methods. An introduction and two concluding chapters by Call and Tomasello compare the findings and discuss their implications. There are extensive bibliographies.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • King, Barbara J. 2004. The dynamic dance: Nonvocal communication in African great apes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            An essay on communication among gorillas, bonobos, and chimpanzees that argues that it is through mutually choreographed interchanges of actions, gestures, and vocalizations that social partners create meaning together. Dynamic systems theory is used to develop a view of ape communication that is continuous and multileveled. The jointly created meanings that emerge from this provide the roots for the communication systems that humans employ today. E-book.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Tanner, Joanne E. 2004. Gestural phrases and gestural exchanges by a pair of zoo-living lowland gorillas. Gesture 4.1: 1–24.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1075/gest.4.1.02tanSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A careful observational study. One of the few that describes the dynamics of ape interaction, treating gestures as components within a communicative flow rather than as isolatable units of behavior.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Tanner, Joanne E., and Richard W. Byrne. 1996. Representation of action through iconic gesture in a captive lowland gorilla. Current Anthropology 37.1: 162–173.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1086/204484Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                An interesting report of careful observations on gestural communication among gorillas. It contains a good set of references to other relevant work and an excellent if succinct statement of the theoretical significance of the observations referred to and reported.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Language Origins

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                As outlined in Hewes 1996, since the 18th century the idea has been put forward that gesture served as the first medium with which humans communicated linguistically. The study of gesture thus has always been of interest to students concerned with glottogenesis or language origins. From the middle of the 19th century until the late 20th century, however, discussions of the language origins question were considered taboo in many quarters. With the great growth of our understanding of human evolution, of primate behavior, of the neurological foundations of language, of the nature of language itself, and of the relationship between speech and language, to mention just some of the areas of knowledge that are relevant, the discussion of language origins has once again come to occupy an important place in linguistic anthropological attention. Johansson 2005 and Fitch 2010 are two surveys of what is now a very large field. Here we list discussions of the “gesture first” hypothesis that, in its modern form, was developed by Gordon W. Hewes (Hewes 1973, Hewes 1996). The idea has been developed further in somewhat different ways in Donald 1991; Armstrong, et al. 1995 and Armstrong and Wilcox 2007; Stokoe 2001; Corballis 2002; and Arbib 2005.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Arbib, Michael. 2005. From monkey-like action recognition to human language: An evolutionary framework for neurolinguistics. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28:105–167.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A complex argument that the evolution of the “language ready brain” crucially involved the development of the capacity provided by “mirror neurons” for enabling mutual understanding of manipulatory actions. This provided a foundation for symbolic behavior and so, ultimately, language.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Armstrong, David F., William C. Stokoe, and Sherman E. Wilcox. 1995. Gesture and the nature of language. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Arguing that both speech and sign language are produced by physical bodily actions (“gestures” in their terms), these authors maintain that there is continuity between representational gesture and speaking. Of particular interest is the notion of “semantic phonology” and the argument that syntax is the product of an analysis of the structure of practical action. Syntactic structure is said to unfold from the structure inherent in signed expression.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Armstrong, David F., and Sherman Wilcox. 2007. The gestural origin of language. Perspectives on Deafness. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195163483.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A restatement and updating of the argument of Armstrong, et al. 1995.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Corballis, Michael C. 2002. From hand to mouth: The origins of language. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A detailed argument for the idea that language first became evident as a form of gesture presented within the context of relevant modern work in paleontology, primate communication, language development, and neurolinguistics.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Donald, Merlin. 1991. The origins of the modern mind: Three stages in the evolution of culture and cognition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A synthesis of many different theories about the evolution of human cognitive processes. Donald proposes three stages of cultural development. Visible bodily action plays a crucial role in the second stage, the stage of “mimesis,” in which behavior as representation develops and which lays the foundations for language.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Fitch, W. Tecumseh. 2010. The evolution of language. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This book emphasizes biological considerations. It contains an interesting evaluation of the “gesture first” hypothesis.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Hewes, Gordon W. 1973. Primate communication and the gestural origin of language. Current Anthropology 14.1–2: 5–24.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1086/201401Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A classic paper that, besides reviving interest in the gesture theory of language origins, also did much to renew interest in the whole issue of language origins among linguistic anthropologists and to bring about the modern discussions of this issue.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Hewes, Gordon W. 1996. A history of the study of language origins and the gestural primacy hypothesis. In Handbook of human symbolic evolution. Edited by Andrew Lock and Charles R. Peters, 571–595. Oxford Science Publications. Oxford: Blackwell.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A survey of the history of the gesture theory of language origins; of considerable depth, with a very useful bibliography.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Johansson, Sverker. 2005. Origins of language: Constraints on hypotheses. Converging Evidence in Language and Communication Research 5. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A comprehensive survey of all aspects of contemporary discussion of the language origins problem.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Stokoe, William C. 2001. Language in hand: Why sign came before speech. Washington, DC: Gallaudet Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Posthumously published, this is a very lucid presentation of Stokoe’s argument that language first emerged as a form of signing. Contains an extended discussion of his theory of semantic phonology.

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