Gestures in spatial descriptions

Research output: Working paper


Most studies of gesture production to date have been based on analyses of narrative discourse in face-to-face interaction. Issues such as the relationship between gesture types and the content of speech, as well as the distribution of particular gesture types across given narrative sequences have been
investigated. Depictive gestures, e.g., are frequent where the content concerns the description of concrete objects or actions at a narrative level (McNeill 1992). Little is known about the gesture production in other discourse types, however. Just as different discourse genres have oral characteristics, they are likely to result in different gestural characteristics.
In this small-scale study, a preliminary analysis is presented of the gestures produced during a spatial description task during which interlocutors were prevented from seeing each other. This paper will discuss the impact of the discourse type on the use of specific gesture types, especially on deictic gestures. In addition, the traditional issue of why speakers gesticulate at all will be briefly addressed in relation to the question of how visibility conditions affect speakers’ gesture production.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • General Language Studies and Linguistics
Original languageEnglish
PublisherDepartment of Linguistics, Lund University
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Publication categoryResearch

Publication series

NameWorking Papers, Lund University, Dept. of Linguistics
ISSN (Print)0280-526X

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Linguistics and Phonetics (015010003)

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