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image of Gesture
ISSN 1568-1475
E-ISSN 1569-9773

<p><em>Gesture</em> publishes articles reporting original research, as well as survey and review articles, on all aspects of gesture. The journal aims to stimulate and facilitate scholarly communication between the different disciplines within which work on gesture is conducted. For this reason papers written in the spirit of cooperation between disciplines are especially encouraged.</p><p>Topics may include, but are by no means limited to: the relationship between gesture and speech; the role gesture may play in communication in all the circumstances of social interaction, including conversations, the work-place or instructional settings; gesture and cognition; the development of gesture in children; the place of gesture in first and second language acquisition; the processes by which spontaneously created gestures may become transformed into codified forms; the documentation and discussion of vocabularies of ’quotable’ or ’emblematic’ gestures; the relationship between gesture and sign; studies of gesture systems or sign languages such as those that have developed in factories, religious communities or in tribal societies; the role of gesture in ritual interactions of all kinds, such as greetings, religious, civic or legal rituals; gestures compared cross-culturally; gestures in primate social interaction; biological studies of gesture, including discussions of the place of gesture in language origins theory; gesture in multimodal human-machine interaction; historical studies of gesture; and studies in the history of gesture studies, including discussions of gesture in the theatre or as a part of rhetoric.</p> <p><em>Gesture</em> provides a platform where contributions to this topic may be found from such disciplines as linguistics, archaeology, anthropology, biology, communication studies, neurology, ethology, theatre studies, literature and the visual arts, cognitive psychology and computer engineering.</p>

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  • The effect of gestures on second language memorisation by young children
    • Author: Marion Tellier
    • Source: Gesture, Volume 8, Issue 2, 2008, pages: 219 –235
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    • This article examines the impact of gesture on second language memorisation in teaching to very young learners. Twenty French children (mean age 5;5) took part in an experiment. They had to learn eight words in a foreign language (English). One group of children (N = 10) were taught words with pictures and another group (N = 10) words with accompanying gestures. Children in this group had to reproduce the gestures while repeating the words. Results show that gestures and especially their reproduction significantly influence the memorisation of second language (L2) lexical items as far as the active knowledge of the vocabulary is concerned (being able to produce words and not only understand them). This finding is consistent with theories on multimodal storage in memory. When reproduced, gestures not only act as a visual modality but also as a motor modality and thus leave a richer trace in memory.
  • Gestural communication of orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus)
  • Raise your hand if you’re spatial: Relations between verbal and spatial skills and gesture production
    • Authors: Autumn B. Hostetter, and Martha W. Alibali
    • Source: Gesture, Volume 7, Issue 1, 2007, pages: 73 –95
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    • Individuals differ greatly in how often they gesture when they speak. This study investigated relations between speakers’ verbal and spatial skills and their gesture rates. Two types of verbal skill were measured: semantic fluency, which is thought to index efficiency with lexical access, and phonemic fluency, which is thought to index efficiency with organizing the lexicon in novel ways. Spatial skill was measured with a visualization task. We hypothesized that individuals with low verbal skill but high spatial visualization skill would gesture most often, due to having mental images not closely linked to verbal forms. This hypothesis was supported for phonemic fluency, but not for semantic fluency. We also found that individuals with low phonemic fluency and individuals with high phonemic fluency produced representational gestures at higher rates than individuals with average phonemic fluency. The findings indicate that individual differences in gesture production are associated with individual differences in cognitive skills.
  • Gesture and speech: The emergence and development of a strong and changing partnership
    • Authors: Olga Capirci, and Virginia Volterra
    • Source: Gesture, Volume 8, Issue 1, 2008, pages: 22 –44
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    • The present paper focuses on early stages of development exploring the emergence of the gesture language system in infancy and its evolution toward the adult system. Old and recent studies carried on mainly in our Laboratory are described and discussed. According to the perspective that emerged in the late 1970s the findings on the role of gesture in the acquisition and development of language did not raise any particular interest in a wider audience. In more recent years a new theoretical framework emerging from different disciplines and perspectives (evolutionary, neuro-physiological, linguistic) made this approach to the ontogeny of language extremely relevant. Findings on the tight link between actions, gestures, and spoken words in young children support some hypotheses put forward by these different perspectives and are in accordance with this new theoretical framework.
  • Gesture and the communicative intention of the speaker
    • Authors: Alissa Melinger, and Willem J.M. Levelt
    • Source: Gesture, Volume 4, Issue 2, 2004, pages: 119 –141
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    • This paper aims to determine whether iconic tracing gestures produced while speaking constitute part of the speaker’s communicative intention. We used a picture description task in which speakers must communicate the spatial and color information of each picture to an interlocutor. By establishing the necessary minimal content of an intended message, we determined whether speech produced with concurrent gestures is less explicit than speech without gestures. We argue that a gesture must be communicatively intended if it expresses necessary information that was nevertheless omitted from speech. We found that speakers who produced iconic gestures representing spatial relations omitted more required spatial information from their descriptions than speakers who did not gesture. These results provide evidence that speakers intend these gestures to communicate. The results have implications for the cognitive architectures that underlie the production of gesture and speech.
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