Skip to main content
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 55
  • Cited by
    This chapter has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Stam, Gale 2018. Speaking in a Second Language. Vol. 17, Issue. , p. 49.

    Wray, Charlotte and Norbury, Courtenay Frazier 2018. Parents modify gesture according to task demands and child language needs. First Language, Vol. 38, Issue. 4, p. 419.

    Bressem, Jana Ladewig, Silva H. and Müller, Cornelia 2018. Linguistic Foundations of Narration in Spoken and Sign Languages. Vol. 247, Issue. , p. 223.

    Ravenet, Brian Pelachaud, Catherine Clavel, Chloé and Marsella, Stacy 2018. Automating the Production of Communicative Gestures in Embodied Characters. Frontiers in Psychology, Vol. 9, Issue. ,

    Saddour, Inès 2017. A multimodal approach to investigating temporality expression in L2: What does gesture analysis reveal?. International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, Vol. 55, Issue. 3,

    Vatavu, Radu-Daniel 2017. Beyond Features for Recognition: Human-Readable Measures to Understand Users’ Whole-Body Gesture Performance. International Journal of Human–Computer Interaction, Vol. 33, Issue. 9, p. 713.

    Nordgren, Pia M 2017. Precursors of language development in ASC: A longitudinal single-subject study of gestures in relation to phonetic prosody. Journal of Intellectual Disabilities, p. 174462951771099.

    Kim, Suyeon and Cho, Sookyung 2017. How a Tutor Uses Gesture for Scaffolding: A Case Study on L2 Tutee's Writing. Discourse Processes, Vol. 54, Issue. 2, p. 105.

    Menti, Alejandra Beatriz and Rosemberg, Celia Renata 2017. El rol de los gestos en la construcción de significados en el aula. Íkala, Revista de Lenguaje y Cultura, Vol. 22, Issue. 3, p. 455.

    Fowler, Carol A. 2016. Meaning in Phonology and Other Departures from Modularity in the Living Language. Psychology of Language and Communication, Vol. 20, Issue. 2, p. 112.

    Palacios, Pedro Rodríguez, Cintia Méndez-Sánchez, Cecilia Hermosillo-De-La-Torre, Alicia-Edith Sahagún, Miguel-Ángel and Cárdenas, Karina 2016. The development of the first symbolic uses in Mexican children from the pragmatics of object / Desarrollo de los primeros usos simbólicos en niños mexicanos desde la pragmática del objeto. Estudios de Psicología, Vol. 37, Issue. 1, p. 59.

    Barros, Isabela Barbosa do Rêgo and Fonte, Renata Fonseca Lima da 2016. Estereotipias motoras e linguagem: aspectos multimodais da negação no autismo. Revista Brasileira de Linguística Aplicada, Vol. 16, Issue. 4, p. 745.

    Mazur-Palandre, Audrey and Lund, Kristine 2016. Explanatory content and visibility effects on the young child’s verbal and gestural behavior in free dialogues. Language, Interaction and Acquisition, Vol. 7, Issue. 2, p. 180.

    Lee, Lai Har Judy and San Chee, Yam 2015. STEM Education. p. 233.

    Klippi, Anu 2015. Pointing as an embodied practice in aphasic interaction. Aphasiology, Vol. 29, Issue. 3, p. 337.

    Rodríguez, Cintia 2015. The Connection Between Language and the World: A Paradox of the Linguistic Turn?. Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science, Vol. 49, Issue. 1, p. 89.

    Rowbotham, Samantha Lloyd, Donna M. Holler, Judith and Wearden, Alison 2015. Externalizing the Private Experience of Pain: A Role for Co-Speech Gestures in Pain Communication?. Health Communication, Vol. 30, Issue. 1, p. 70.

    Ng, Oi-Lam and Sinclair, Nathalie 2015. Young children reasoning about symmetry in a dynamic geometry environment. ZDM, Vol. 47, Issue. 3, p. 421.

    Gawne, Lauren and Kelly, Barbara F. 2014. Revisiting Significant Action and Gesture Categorization. Australian Journal of Linguistics, Vol. 34, Issue. 2, p. 216.

    Sorsa, Virpi Pälli, Pekka and Mikkola, Piia 2014. Appropriating the Words of Strategy in Performance Appraisal Interviews. Management Communication Quarterly, Vol. 28, Issue. 1, p. 56.

  • Print publication year: 2000
  • Online publication date: January 2010

2 - Language and gesture: unity or duality?



‘Language’ and ‘gesture’ have long been held to be different, yet at the same time a relationship between them has always been recognized. However, whether they are regarded as belonging together or not depends upon how these words are defined. Thus if, with Armstrong, Stokoe & Wilcox, we accept Studdert-Kennedy's (1987: 77) definition of ‘gesture’ as “an equivalence class of coordinated movements that achieve some end” (see Armstrong et al. 1995: 43), then, insofar as both speech and, let us say, gestures of the hands are comprised of “coordinated movements that achieve some end,” it is possible to argue for a fundamental identity between the one and the other, as indeed they have done. On the other hand, if we insist, as some have, that a defining feature of language is that it be spoken, then this seems forever to make it impossible to see ‘gesture’ as part of ‘language’. However, if we define language in a more abstract fashion, and allow that its medium of realization is not one of its defining features, then whether or not ‘gesture’ is to be seen as a part of language depends upon what other features are insisted upon. For example, if we follow Saussure's definition of language, so long as ‘gestures’ can be shown to be arbitrary form-meaning pairs differentiated in contrastive relationships and organized paradigmatically and syntagmatically, they can be regarded as a form of language. On these grounds, gesture systems such as primary or alternate sign languages would be included, but we might exclude such modes of expression as improvised or locally created gesturings such as may be observed in many of the gestures used concurrently with speech.

Recommend this book

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this book to your organisation's collection.

Language and Gesture
  • Online ISBN: 9780511620850
  • Book DOI:
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to *