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Sign Language Studies 3.1 (2002) 94-95
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La dimension corporelle de la parole:
Les marques posturo-mimo-gestuelles de la parole, leurs aspects métonymiques et métaphoriques, et leur rôle au cours d’un récit
Danielle Bouvet. La dimension corporelle de la parole: Les marques posturo-mimo-gestuelles de la parole, leurs aspects métonymiques et métaphoriques, et leur rôle au cours d’un récit (The Bodily Dimension of Speech: Postural, Facial, and Gestural Markers in Speech, their Metonymic and Metaphoric Aspects, and Their Role in the Telling of a Story), Paris: Peeters. 2001.
This book presents data and analysis concerning postural, facial, and manual gestures that accompany speech during the telling of a children’s story. The author concludes that these gestures may have semantic or grammatical functions in the telling of the story, “The Fox and the Eels (Renart et les anguilles):”
[T]he gesture of prehension that accompanies the word catch (attrape) and that is held during the following fox (renard) specifies the meaning of the word, with the precision of its own contextual praxic action: one does not catch in the same way a fox that is dead, a fox that is alive, or butterflies. Holding the gesture during the utterance of the word fox shows how the gesture incorporates into its production the object to which it applies. This, in turn, is an instance of a grammatical process that occurs in sign languages, according to which certain verbs incorporate within their very production the agent or the patient of the act of articulation. (141)
The author also reports that she recorded a recitation of the same story in French Sign Language. She concludes that there is a continuum between the gestures accompanying the recitation in spoken French and those accompanying French Sign Language; specifically:
There can be found, at certain key passages of the story, instances in the two recitations of postural and facial markers that are identical or almost, and that appear to have similar value. (142) [End Page 94]
McClave (2001) has recently come to a similar conclusion concerning head gestures used by speakers of American English and signers of American Sign Language.
Note: Translations by the editor.
McClave, E. Z. 2001. The relationship between spontaneous gestures of the hearing and American Sign Language. Gesture 1(1): 51–72.