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How Given and New Information Shape the Form of Conversational Hand Gestures
Unformatted Document Text:  26 Conclusion The purpose of this study was to begin to account for physical differences in conversational hand gestures when they all had the same referents. The hypothesis was that the main influence on the form of the gestures was the immediate communicative function each gesture was serving at the moment when it occurred. To investigate specific communicative functions, this analysis drew a connection between physical transformations that attenuated or exaggerated aspects of the gesture and the verbal use of prosodic variation to mark given and new information. Through successive gestures depicting the same hand action, participants tended to mark given information by making it smaller and less precise and mark new information by making it large and more accurate. Thus, through the course of the conversation, gestural depictions of the same hand action became physically more schematic while at the same time becoming more conceptually complex. The physical form of the gestures was indeed influenced by an aspect of communicative function: how the information was to be integrated into the discourse.

Authors: Gerwing, Jennifer.
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26
Conclusion
The purpose of this study was to begin to account for physical differences in
conversational hand gestures when they all had the same referents. The hypothesis was that the
main influence on the form of the gestures was the immediate communicative function each
gesture was serving at the moment when it occurred. To investigate specific communicative
functions, this analysis drew a connection between physical transformations that attenuated or
exaggerated aspects of the gesture and the verbal use of prosodic variation to mark given and
new information. Through successive gestures depicting the same hand action, participants
tended to mark given information by making it smaller and less precise and mark new
information by making it large and more accurate. Thus, through the course of the conversation,
gestural depictions of the same hand action became physically more schematic while at the same
time becoming more conceptually complex. The physical form of the gestures was indeed
influenced by an aspect of communicative function: how the information was to be integrated
into the discourse.


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