Volume 17, Issue 3
  • ISSN 1568-1475
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9773
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This paper proposes a novel analysis of deictic gestures which yields a taxonomy of manual pointing. ‘Gesture form analysis’ brings into relief the diversity of pointing by considering the imaginary forms necessarily involved in interpreting a gesture. It combines into a single framework insights found in the literature on how the meaning of any gesture is enabled by a series of spatial operations leading from the physical form of the articulators to the form of the target. Seven distinct spatial operations combine to define a gesture type, twenty-seven of which are illustrated with examples from open-data corpora. Most types involve not the prototypical linear vector of pointing, but the plane of an open hand. Not only deictic, but also iconic and other functions are shown to be rooted in imaginary forms and their ability to draw attention to and specify locations, directions, areas and volumes of space.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): classification; deixis; geometry; gesture form; iconicity; imaginary forms; taxonomy
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