In English, a gesture refers to a manual or cephalic (of the head) gesture in addition to gestural phenomena in their totality. In French, “gestualité” is limited to certain kinds of manual gestures, or even cephalic gestures, while for others, it includes facial expressions and changes in position, posture, attitude throughout communication, or even proximity … Read more

Gestural unit

In studies on the various sign languages (SL), four main types of autonomous gestural units may be identified: conventional units, of the lexematic type (commonly called “signs” — or “words” -, or “frozen signs”); unconventionalized units, variously analyzed and qualified according to theoretical approaches (“”constructions with classifiers””, “”productive signs””, “”transfer units””, etc.); pointing signs; typing … Read more


A gesture is a bodily movement of the head, hands, upper members (arms, shoulders) or of another part of the body, including or not changes in look or the face, which constitutes an act of intentional communication. A gesture can imply several parts of the body at a single time, such as in greetings done … Read more

Gesture phase

Each gesture can be broken down into several gesture phases (Kendon, 1980) such as preparation (setting up of articulators), after which comes a realization phase (the significant part of the gesture, stroke), which can be preceded or followed by a hold (the articulators pause). Kita (1990) distinguishes the hold that precedes the realization phase, pre-stroke … Read more