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How Given and New Information Shape the Form of Conversational Hand Gestures
Unformatted Document Text:  15 One thumb pointed back towards his face as though showing the path the toy took through the air. This gesture illustrates the fact that the toy flew in the air and went straight towards the speaker’s face. Without the gesture depicting the path of the toy, the addressee may have interpreted the words differently. For instance, the propeller part of the toy may have hit him as he spun it in his hands. The participant gestured something the toy did, not its physical features or actions he used to play with the toy. Actions participants used to play with the toy: Gesture 4: “I also had this little spinny thing where you went, like this.” The speaker’s palms were pressed together, fingers pointing away from her. Her left hand remained stationary while her right moved forward until her right arm was extended in front of her. The gesture portrays the action her hands were required to do in order to make the whirlygig fly up in the air. It is an accurate portrayal of what the speaker did with the toy, which was to hold the stick between her palms while she rubbed the right hand away from her body. Hypothetical or imagined actions: Gesture 5: “if you twirl it towards you then it hits you…” In this gesture, the participant rubbed his palms together once, keeping one hand stationary and moving the other back towards him. The action depicted in the gesture was not one the participant used during the action phase of the experiment. It was one that he imagined, probably as a result of a warning he had read in the instructions for the toy. Seamless blends between types of depictions: Gesture 6: “And it had like a little propeller thingy on the top. And it would fly”

Authors: Gerwing, Jennifer.
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15
One thumb pointed back towards his face as though showing the path the toy took through
the air. This gesture illustrates the fact that the toy flew in the air and went straight towards
the speaker’s face. Without the gesture depicting the path of the toy, the addressee may have
interpreted the words differently. For instance, the propeller part of the toy may have hit him
as he spun it in his hands. The participant gestured something the toy did, not its physical
features or actions he used to play with the toy.
Actions participants used to play with the toy:
Gesture 4: “I also had this little spinny thing where you went, like this.”
The speaker’s palms were pressed together, fingers pointing away from her. Her left hand
remained stationary while her right moved forward until her right arm was extended in front
of her. The gesture portrays the action her hands were required to do in order to make the
whirlygig fly up in the air. It is an accurate portrayal of what the speaker did with the toy,
which was to hold the stick between her palms while she rubbed the right hand away from
her body.
Hypothetical or imagined actions:
Gesture 5: “if you twirl it towards you then it hits you…”
In this gesture, the participant rubbed his palms together once, keeping one hand
stationary and moving the other back towards him. The action depicted in the gesture was
not one the participant used during the action phase of the experiment. It was one that he
imagined, probably as a result of a warning he had read in the instructions for the toy.
Seamless blends between types of depictions:
Gesture 6: “And it had like a little propeller thingy on the top. And it would fly”


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