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Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies / Revue de l'Association Internationale de Sémiotique

Editor-in-Chief: Danesi, Marcel

IMPACT FACTOR 2017: 0.183
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 0.283

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SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.228
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.634

Agenzia Nazionale di Valutazione del Sistema Universitario e della Ricerca: Classe A

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Volume 2013, Issue 197


New insights into the medium hand: Discovering recurrent structures in gestures

Silva H. Ladewig / Jana Bressem
Published Online: 2013-10-23 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/sem-2013-0088


This paper shows that an analysis of gestures based on the four parameters hand shape, orientation, movement, and position in gesture space, introduced for the notation of sign language (Battison 1974; Stokoe 1960) can uncover recurrent patterns and structures in gestures. By presenting two studies we argue for a discovery procedure that rests upon a systematic description of gestures applying the four parameters and upon a clear discrimination between form and meaning in the analytical process. Using this methodological framework it is possible to uncover clusters of recurrent forms and a systematic variation of form and meaning in a recurrent gesture.

Keywords: gestures; form-based analysis; discovery procedure; recurrence in gestures; grammaticalization; grammar of gesture; gesture-sign interface

About the article

Silva H. Ladewig

Silva H. Ladewig (b. 1978) is an academic assistant at the European University Viadrina 〈 〉. Her research interests include multimodal language, gesture studies, sign language linguistics, and language and cognition. Her publications include “Body – Language – Communication: An International Handbook on Multimodality in Human Interaction. (Handbooks of Linguistics and Communication Science 38.1.), Berlin & Boston: De Gruyter Mouton.” (with C. Müller, A. Cienki, E. Fricke, D. McNeill, S. Teßendorf 2013).

Jana Bressem

Jana Bressem (b. 1979) is an academic assistant at the Chemnitz University of Technology 〈 〉. Her research interests include gesture studies, multimodal grammar, sign languages, and language and cognition. Her publications include “A repertoire of recurrent gestures of German” (with C. Müller 2013).

Published Online: 2013-10-23

Published in Print: 2013-10-25

Citation Information: Semiotica, Volume 2013, Issue 197, Pages 203–231, ISSN (Online) 1613-3692, ISSN (Print) 0037-1998, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/sem-2013-0088.

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