On the lower limit of gesture

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Where, if, and how, should researchers draw the limit between gesture proper and semiotically less complex forms of bodily conduct that do not quite qualify as gesture? This is the question of a lower limit of gesture (Andrén 2010). In accordance with a comparative semiotic approach (Kendon 2008), I suggest that the question is best understood not as a binary distinction between gesture and non-gesture but as a matter of several different semiotic properties that can vary independently of each other. This involves, in particular, different levels of representational complexity and communicative explicitness. These semiotic properties are both conceptually explicated and applied to empirical examples in this chapter, eventually leading me to propose a family resemblance conception of gesture.


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