Re: Language, gesture, etc.

Ania Lian (ania@LINGUA.CLTR.UQ.OZ.AU)
Wed, 14 Feb 1996 11:31:19 +1000

On Tue, 13 Feb 1996, Ronald Kephart wrote:

> > There's already been speculation that hand gestures and signing
preceded > > verbal language in human evolution.

HOW do we know what preceded what? Ron says it is clear. Not to me. I have
never noticed that words have the role of taking over the gesture. Has
anybody? The only field that assmes that gesture was first (sounds like
the bible) and then came the word and then came grammar is linguistics (of
the poor kind). If word came after gesture did it substitute the gesture?
And if grammar followed the word did it substitute the word? Why couldn't
they just have been always together? You know like with cats. Or your cat
does not talk??

By gesture often and mistakenly is understood a sign which says, say,
"hello". But, .. have you noticed that if you watch a French movie
without sound without the "signifying gestures" of that kind, you can
still tell that the people are French, Italin, German, etc. What gives
them this culturally adjusted way of moving, holding themselves? I mean
why is it that French hold their body in grater tension than say English?
What was ffirst, the gesture, the body tension, and then a word?