Introduction

:
How many people have ever been talking on the phone and were "talking with their hands" even
though the person couldn't see them?
How many people talk with their hands without ever noticing?
How many people feel they can understand messages better when others use their hands?
Have you ever watched two people have a conversation and could tell the tone of their conversation
without hearing anything?

Words: pushing
spiral ------------
blossoming knitting
guillotine waves
kaleidoscope push ups
metronome painting
cut lasso
peace sign slip
pointing curtsey
erupt banister
shrugging
Discussion:
- Gesture forms an integrated system with speech and contributes to the meaning listeners glean
from speech
- More likely to grasp the message conveyed in speech if it is accompanied by a gesture
- Less likely to grasp the message conveyed in speech if it is accompanied by a gesture conveying a
different message

- Speakers gesture when their listeners cannot see their gestures (e.g. on the phone or when
speaking to a person behind a barrier over an intercom
- More strikingly, congenitally blind speakers (who have never seen anyone move their hands when
they talk) gesture and do so even when addressing blind listeners

What does this mean?
- Findings such as these indicate that gesturing serves a function not only for listeners, but also for
speakers themselves.
- Speakers are more fluent, producing fewer errors and verbal hesitations, when they are permitted to
gesture than when they are prevented from gesturing

http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/367/1585/129

Link to child development:
- Imitation-based mechanism that supports early sign acquisition, and that this might also apply to
spoken language — with gestures, tone of voice, inflection, and facial expression helping make the
link between words and their meanings less arbitrary.
- This suggests that we can support children’s acquisition of language by providing and emphasizing
such ‘scaffolding’.