Communication And Gesture

The hand not only functions as a tool, it also communicates meaning and experience» supporting facial and bodily expression. These meanings often go beyond the level of verbal expression and are meant to be picked up by the acute swiftness of the eye. In this chapter we shall look at some typical and well-known gestures, and study how only the gestures made by the hand could communicate the meaning intended. Some gestures discussed here arc cultural and cross-cultural, still carrying close to their original historical meanings such as the concept of number, the concept of leadership and deity, and both ancient and modern sign language.

Famous Gesture Drawings

WELL-KNOWN GESTURES

la the drawing at top left, the thumb and forefinger form an opening, while the three other fingers form a sequence of arcs, conveying the number zero or else communicating OK! If the gesture signifies a particularly enthusiastic OK!, the palm would more likely be lifted up, the fingers pointed backward, and the hand arched back confidently. After trying the gesture yourself, use tissue paper over the drawing and reset the fingcn> and palm in relation to the arm.

The hand at bottom, with index and middle fingers upraised and thumb resting on the last two fingers, conveys number two. But the position of the two fingers spread in a V sign and thrust skyward is also the famous victory symbol used by Winston Churchill during World War II.

In the drawing at tc^ ight, the single finger upraised, means, of course* number one. But it can also symbolize the deity» conveying respect, command, and authority. It is important to note» however, that historically this gesture has only been considered appropriate for the right hand, in many cultures the left hand has symbolized, and still does, something sinister or evil.

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