Article

Gestures

Adam Kendon

in Linguistics

ISBN: 9780199772810
Published online October 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199772810-0018
Gestures

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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.

Article.  12999 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Anthropological Linguistics ; Language Families ; Psycholinguistics ; Sociolinguistics

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