Chapter published in:Why Gesture?: How the hands function in speaking, thinking and communicating
Edited by R. Breckinridge Church, Martha W. Alibali and Spencer D. Kelly
[Gesture Studies 7] 2017
► pp. 77–101
Chapter 5Gesture-speech unity
What it is, where it came from
Minimal packages of language embodiment have been called growth points (GPs). In a GP gesture and speech are inherent and equal parts. Out of a GP comes speech orchestrated around a gesture. Can theories of language origin explain this dynamic process? A popular theory, gesture-first, cannot; in fact, it fails twice – predicting what did not evolve (that gesture was marginalized when speech emerged), and not predicting what did evolve (that there is gesture-speech unity). A new theory, called Mead’s Loop, is proposed that meets the test. Mead’s Loop agrees that gesture was indispensable to the origin of language but holds that gesture was not first, that any gesture-first could not have led to language, and that to reach it gesture and speech had to be “equiprimordial.”
- The growth point
- The dialectic
- Note on terms
- GP properties
- Empirical base
- Minimal units
- Co-expressiveness and contrast
- The psychological predicate
- What is “a meaning”?
- A natural experiment
- Material carriers and inhabitance
- Language origin
- Mead’s Loop
Published online: 26 April 2017
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Cited by 2 other publications
Romero-Andonegi, Asier, Irati de Pablo-Delgado, Aintzane Etxebarria-Lejarreta & Ainara Romero-Andonegi
2018. Coordination between vocalizations, gestures and prosody before the start of verbal communication: evidence from the Basque language / Coordinación entre vocalizaciones, gestos y prosodia antes del inicio de la comunicación verbal: evidencias desde la lengua vasca. Infancia y Aprendizaje 41:2 ► pp. 325 ff.
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