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A gesture is a form of non-verbal communication or non-vocal communication in which visible bodily actions communicate particular messages, either in place of, or in conjunction with, speech. Gestures include movement of the hands, face, or other parts of the body. Gestures differ from physical non-verbal communication that does not communicate specific messages, such as purely expressive displays, proxemics, or displays of joint attention.[1] Gestures allow individuals to communicate a variety of feelings and thoughts, from contempt and hostility to approval and affection, often together with body language in addition to words when they speak. Gesticulation and speech work independently of each other, but join to provide emphasis and meaning.

Gesture processing takes place in areas of the brain such as Broca's and Wernicke's areas, which are used by speech and sign language.[2] In fact, language is thought by some scholars to have evolved in Homo sapiens from an earlier system consisting of manual gestures.[3] The theory that language evolved from manual gestures, termed Gestural Theory, dates back to the work of 18th-century philosopher and priest Abbé de Condillac, and has been revived by contemporary anthropologist Gordon W. Hewes, in 1973, as part of a discussion on the origin of language.[4]

Research throughout the ages

Gestures have been studied throughout time from different philosophers.[5] Marcus Fabius Quintilianus was a Roman Rhetorician who studied in his Institution Oratoria on how gesture can be used on rhetorical discourses. One of his greatest works and foundation for communication was the "Institutio Oratoria" where he explains his observations and nature of different oratories.[6]

A study done in 1644, by John Bulwer an English physician and early Baconian natural philosopher wrote five works exploring human communications pertaining to gestures.[7] Bulwer analyzed dozens of gestures and provided a guide under his book named Chirologia which focused on hand gestures.[8] In the 19th century, Andrea De Jorio an Italian antiquarian who considered a lot of research about body language published an extensive account of gesture expressions.[9]

Andrew N. Meltzoff an American psychologist internationally renown for infant and child development conducted a study in 1977 on the imitation of facial and manual gestures by newborns. The study concluded that "infants between 12 and 21 days of age can imitate the facial and manual gestures of parents".[10] In 1992, David Mcneill, a professor of linguistics and psychology at the University of Chicago, wrote a book based on his ten years of research and concluded that "gestures do not simply form a part of what is said, but have an impact on thought itself." Meltzoff argues that gestures directly transfer thoughts into visible forms, showing that ideas and language cannot always be express.[11] A peer-reviewed journal Gesture has been published since 2001,[12] and was founded by Adam Kendon and Cornelia Müller.[13] The International Society for Gesture Studies (ISGS) was founded in 2002.[14]

Gesture has frequently been taken up by researchers in the field of dance studies and performance studies in ways that emphasize the ways they are culturally and contextually inflected. Performance scholar Carrie Noland describes gestures as "learned techniques of the body" and stresses the way gestures are embodied corporeal forms of cultural communication.[15] But rather than just residing within one cultural context, she describes how gestures migrate across bodies and locations to create new cultural meanings and associations. She also posits how they might function as a form of "resistance to homogenization" because they are so dependent on the specification of the bodies that perform them.[16]

Gesture has also been taken up within queer theory, ethnic studies and their intersections in performance studies, as a way to think about how the moving body gains social meaning. José Esteban Muñoz uses the idea of gesture to mark a kind of refusal of finitude and certainty and links gesture to his ideas of ephemera. Muñoz specifically draws on the African-American dancer and drag queen performer Kevin Aviance to articulate his interest not in what queer gestures might mean, but what they might perform.[17] Juana María Rodríguez borrows ideas of phenomenology and draws on Noland and Muñoz to investigate how gesture functions in queer sexual practices as a way to rewrite gender and negotiate power relations. She also connects gesture to Giorgio Agamben's idea of "means without ends" to think about political projects of social justice that are incomplete, partial, and legibile within culturally and socially defined spheres of meaning.[18]

Within the field of linguistics, the most hotly contested aspect of gesture revolves around the subcategory of Lexical or Iconic Co-Speech Gestures. Adam Kendon was the first to hypothesize on their purpose when he argued that Lexical gestures do work to amplify or modulate the lexico-semantic content of the verbal speech with which they co-occur.[1] However, since the late 1990s, most research has revolved around the contrasting hypothesis that Lexical gestures serve a primarily cognitive purpose in aiding the process of speech production.[19][20] As of 2012, there is research to suggest that Lexical Gesture does indeed serve a primarily communicative purpose and cognitive only secondary, but in the realm of socio-pragmatic communication, rather than lexico-semantic modification.[21]

Typology (categories)

Broca's and Wernicke's areas, which are used by speech and sign language.[2] In fact, language is thought by some scholars to have evolved in Homo sapiens from an earlier system consisting of manual gestures.[3] The theory that language evolved from manual gestures, termed Gestural Theory, dates back to the work of 18th-century philosopher and priest Abbé de Condillac, and has been revived by contemporary anthropologist Gordon W. Hewes, in 1973, as part of a discussion on the origin of language.[4]

Gestures have been studied throughout time from different philosophers.[5] Marcus Fabius Quintilianus was a Roman Rhetorician who studied in his Institution Oratoria on how gesture can be used on rhetorical discourses. One of his greatest works and foundation for communication was the "Institutio Oratoria" where he explains his observations and nature of different oratories.[6]

A study done in 1644, by John Bulwer an English physician and early Baconian natural philosopher wrote five works exploring human communications pertaining to gestures.[7] Bulwer analyzed dozens of gestures and provided a guide under his book named Chirologia which focused on hand gestures.[8] In the 19th century, Andrea De Jorio an Italian antiquarian who considered a lot of research about body language published an extensive account of gesture expressions.[9]

Andrew N. Meltzoff an American psychologist internationally renown for infant and child development conducted a study in 1977 on the imitation of facial and manual gestures by newborns. The study concluded that "infants between 12 and 21 days of age can imitate the facial and manual gestures of parents".[10] In 1992, David Mcneill, a professor of linguistics and psychology at the University of Chicago, wrote a book based on his ten years of research and concluded that "gestures do not simply form a part of what is said, but have an impact on thought itself." Meltzoff argues that gestures directly transfer thoughts into visible forms, showing that ideas and language cannot always be express.[11] A peer-reviewed journal Gesture has been published since 2001,[12] and was founded by Adam Kendon and Cornelia Müller.[13] The International Society for Gesture Studies (ISGS) was founded in 2002.[14]

Gesture has frequently been taken up by researchers in the field of dance studies and performance studies in ways that emphasize the ways they are culturally and contextually inflected. Performance scholar Carrie Noland describes gestures as "learned techniques of the body" and stresses the way gestures are embodied corporeal forms of cultural communication.[15] But rather than just residing within one cultural context, she describes how gestures migrate across bodies and locations to create new cultural meanings and associations. She also posits how they might function as a form of "resistance to homogenization" because they are so dependent on the specification of the bodies that perform them.[16]

Gesture has also been taken up within queer theory, ethnic studies and their intersections in performance studies, as a way to think about how the moving body gains social meaning. José Es

A study done in 1644, by John Bulwer an English physician and early Baconian natural philosopher wrote five works exploring human communications pertaining to gestures.[7] Bulwer analyzed dozens of gestures and provided a guide under his book named Chirologia which focused on hand gestures.[8] In the 19th century, Andrea De Jorio an Italian antiquarian who considered a lot of research about body language published an extensive account of gesture expressions.[9]

Andrew N. Meltzoff an American psychologist internationally renown for infant and child development conducted a study in 1977 on the imitation of facial and manual gestures by newborns. The study concluded that "infants between 12 and 21 days of age can imitate the facial and manual gestures of parents".[10] In 1992, David Mcneill, a professor of linguistics and psychology at the University of Chicago, wrote a book based on his ten years of research and concluded that "gestures do not simply form a part of what is said, but have an impact on thought itself." Meltzoff argues that gestures directly transfer thoughts into visible forms, showing that ideas and language cannot always be express.[11] A peer-reviewed journal Gesture has been published since 2001,[12] and was founded by Adam Kendon and Cornelia Müller.[13] The International Society for Gesture Studies (ISGS) was founded in 2002.[14]

Gesture has frequently been taken up by researchers in the field of dance studies and performance studies in ways that emphasize the ways they are culturally and contextually inflected. Performance scholar Carrie Noland describes gestures as "learned techniques of the body" and stresses the way gestures are embodied corporeal forms of cultural communication.[15] But rather than just residing within one cultural context, she describes how gestures migrate across bodies and locations to create new cultural meanings and associations. She also posits how they might function as a form of "resistance to homogenization" because they are so dependent on the specification of the bodies that perform them.[16]

Gesture has also been taken up within queer theory, ethnic studies and their intersections in performance studies, as a way to think about how the moving body gains social meaning. José Esteban Muñoz uses the idea of gesture to mark a kind of refusal of finitude and certainty and links gesture to his ideas of ephemera. Muñoz specifically draws on the African-American dancer and drag queen performer Kevin Aviance to articulate his interest not in what queer gestures might mean, but what they might perform.[17] Juana María Rodríguez borrows ideas of phenomenology and draws on Noland and Muñoz to investigate how gesture functions in queer sexual practices as a way to rewrite gender and negotiate power relations. She also connects gesture to Giorgio Agamben's idea of "means without ends" to think about political projects of social justice that are incomplete, partial, and legibile within culturally and socially defined spheres of meaning.[18]

Within the field of linguistics, the most hotly contested aspect of gesture revolves around the subcategory of Lexical or Iconic Co-Speech Gestures. Adam Kendon was the first to hypothesize on their purpose when he argued that Lexical gestures do work to amplify or modulate the lexico-semantic content of the verbal speech with which they co-occur.[1] However, since the late 1990s, most research has revolved around the contrasting hypothesis that Lexical gestures serve a primarily cognitive purpose in aiding the process of speech production.[19][20] As of 2012, there is research to suggest that Lexical Gesture does indeed serve a primarily communicative purpose and cognitive only secondary, but in the realm of socio-pragmatic communication, rather than lexico-semantic modification.[21]

Humans have the ability to communicate through language, but they can also express through gestures. In particular, gestures can be transmitted through movements of body parts, face, and body expressions.[22] Researchers Goldin Meadow and Brentari D. conducted research in 2015 and concluded that communicating through sign language is no different from spoken language.[23]

Communicative vs. informative

The first way to distinguish between categories of gesture is to differentiate between communicative gesture and informative gesture. While most gestures can be defined as possibly happening during the course of spoken utterances, the informative-communicative dichotomy focuses on intentionality of meaning and communication in co-speech gesture.[22]

Informative (Passive Gestures)

Infor

The first way to distinguish between categories of gesture is to differentiate between communicative gesture and informative gesture. While most gestures can be defined as possibly happening during the course of spoken utterances, the informative-communicative dichotomy focuses on intentionality of meaning and communication in co-speech gesture.[22]

Informative (Passive Gestures)

Body language is a form of non-verbal communication that allows visual cues that transmit messages without speaking. Gestures are movement that are made with the body: arms, hands, facial, etc.[25] Authors Barbara Pease and Allan Pease, of "The Definitive Book of Body Language" concluded that everyone does a shoulder shrug, a gesture signifying that the person is not comprehending what they are supposed to be understanding. Also, that showing the palms of both hands to show a person is not hiding anything, and raising the eyebrows to indicate a greeting.[26]

Finger gestures are commonly used in a variety of ways, from point at something to indicate that you want to show a person something to indicating a thumbs up to show everything is good.[27]

Also, in most cultures nodding your head signifies "Yes", which the book "The Definitive Book

Finger gestures are commonly used in a variety of ways, from point at something to indicate that you want to show a person something to indicating a thumbs up to show everything is good.[27]

Also, in most cultures nodding your head signifies "Yes", which the book "The Definitive Book of Body Language" describes as submissive gesture to representing the conversation is going the direction of the person speaking. Interesting, the book explains that people who are born deaf can show a form of submissive gesture to signify "Yes".[25]

Within the realm of communicative gestures, the first distinction to be made is between gestures made with the hands and arms, and gestures made with other parts of the body. Examples of Non-manual gestures may include head nodding and shaking, shoulder shrugging, and facial expression, among others. Non-manual gestures are attested in languages all around the world, but have not been the primary focus of most research regarding co-speech gesture.[22]

Manual gestures

A gesture that is a form of communication in which bodily actions communicate partic

A gesture that is a form of communication in which bodily actions communicate particular messages. Manual gestures are most commonly broken down into four distinct categories: Symbolic (Emblematic), Deictic (Indexical), Motor (Beat), and Lexical (Iconic)[19] It is important to note that manual gesture in the sense of communicative co-speech gesture does not include the gesture-signs of Sign Languages, even though sign language is communicative and primarily produced using the hands, because the gestures in Sign Language are not used to intensify or modify the speech produced by the vocal tract, rather they communicate fully productive language through a method alternative to the vocal tract.

Symbolic (emblematic)

In order to better understand the linguistic values that gestures hold,

It can be recorded using kinematic methodology.

In order to better understand the linguistic values that gestures hold, Adam Kendon, a pioneer in gesture research has proposed to look at it as a continuum from less linguistic to fully linguistic. Using the continuum, speech declines as "the language-like properties of gestural behaviors increase and idiosyncratic gestures are replaced by socially regulated signs".[41]

Gestures of different kinds fall within this continuum and include spontaneous gesticulations, language-like gestures, pantomime, emblems, and sign language. Spontaneous gesticulations are not evident without the presence of speech, assisting in the process of vocalization, whereas language-like gestures are "iconic and metaphoric, but lack consistency and are contex

Gestures of different kinds fall within this continuum and include spontaneous gesticulations, language-like gestures, pantomime, emblems, and sign language. Spontaneous gesticulations are not evident without the presence of speech, assisting in the process of vocalization, whereas language-like gestures are "iconic and metaphoric, but lack consistency and are context-dependent".[41] "Language-like gesture" implies that the gesture is assuming something linguistic (Loncke, 2013).[42] Pantomime falls in the middle of the continuum and requires shared conventions. This kind of gesture helps convey information or describe an event.

Following pantomime are emblems, which have specific meanings to denote "feelings, obscenities, and insults" and are not required to be used in conjunction with speech.[41] The most linguistic gesture on Kendon's continuum is sign language, where "single manual signs have specific meanings and are combined with other manual signs according to specific rules".[41]