The dual origin of gesture
Semiotic preconditions for the emergence of two kinds of symbolic gestures
This article questions some aspects of McNeill’s (2014) “imagistic” conception of gesture and his theory of the origin of language. In their stead, the article presents a kinesiological approach, and advances a hypothesis for a dual origin of symbolic gesture. The significance of the human artifactual environment in this context allows us to give precedence to brachial articulation over image. In nonhuman apes, the dyadic brachial origins of gestures show striking similarities in form and meaning to human brachial gestures. Manual gestures linked to object manipulation appeared as humankind acquired manual skills. These gestures express triadic values. Before speech, humans most probably already used dyadic symbolic gestures.
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