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

Silva H. Ladewig 1  and Jana Bressem 2
  • 1 European University Viadrina
  • 2 Chemnitz University of Technology


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.

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