Volume 9, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2210-4070
  • E-ISSN: 2210-4097
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Gesture is aptly described as a “backdoor” to cognition (Sweetser, 2007, p. 203). Co-speech gesture has been shown to aid in the representation of abstract concepts (Parrill & Sweetser, 2004) and, specifically, encode metaphorical source domains (Cienki, 1998). This paper examines how co-speech gesture aligns with spoken and written narrative to support a spatially based representation of gender identity. Repeated gestural patterns include inward facing palms used to mime fictive category boundaries, gestural mapping of motion across metaphorical gender regions, manual deictic reference to interior and exterior self, and distancing from past gender assignment signaled through emblematic scare quotes. The data examined in this paper confirm the important role gesture plays in supplementing the instantiation of the metaphorical models that organize transgender speakers’ experience with and discussion of gender and transition.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): co-speech gesture; conceptual metaphor; gender transition
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