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A meaningful body movement, usually of the hand or head, though the term can include facial expression and expressive movements of the whole body. The main kinds of gestures are manual ones, primarily: emblems, illustrators, batons, and self-touch. They are culturally highly variable, although a few are universal (seeemblems). Sapir referred to gesture as ‘an elaborate code that is written nowhere, known by none, and understood by all.’ The study of gesture is an aspect of kinesics.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Early and Medieval).

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