Tag Archives: McNeill

McNeill’s growth points

McNeill, D. (1997). Growth points cross-linguistically. In J. Nuyts & E. Pederson (Eds.) Language and conceptualization. Language, Culture, and Cognition (Vol. 1, pp. 190-212). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

McNeill takes us on a familiar trip through Kendon’s continuum and a reintroduction to his four-part classification scheme for gesticulations, slightly revised compared to other work summarized here. He then argues for the synchrony and complementarity (but not redundancy) of speech and gesture, and gesture’s potential role as a route to visual-spatial thought. He defines his concept of a growth point and how it might develop into a speech-gesture utterance, bringing along some Vygotskian dialectic for the ride.

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McNeill’s phrases and phases

McNeill, D. (2005). Gesture and though. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

From Chapter 2, “How gestures carry meaning,” pp. 22-59

McNeill opens this chapter with an argument for the synchrony and coexpressiveness of gesture with concomitant speech, He ends with some thoughts about the metaphoricity and conventionalization of gesture, and then with a brief discussion of the “for the speaker” vs. “for the listener” debate in gesture research. In the middle, he elaborates on the structure of gestures: phrases and phases. This “gestural anatomy” will be my focus here.

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McNeill’s gesture classification scheme

McNeill, D. (1992). Hand and mind: What gestures reveal about thought. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

From Chapter 3 (pp. 75 – 104): Guide to gesture classification, transcription, and distribution

In this chapter, McNeill introduces his system of classification of gestures and a preview of how he transcribes and codes in his lab. Additionally, he provides some information about his general experimental protocol, basic information about the distribution of gestures seen under that paradigm, and a sample transcription.

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Why gestures are not language

McNeill, D. (1992). Hand and mind: What gestures reveal about thought. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

From Chapter 2, “Conventions, gestures, and signs,” pp. 36-72.

McNeill devotes much of this chapter illustrating the linguistic features of sign languages, those characteristics that make systems like American Sign Language complete, natural, human languages, and not just some degraded approximation of speech. However, I will summarize here, just the first few pages of this chapter, where McNeill argues that what makes gestures interesting as a field of study is that, while they may be communicative, they lack many of the features that make languages languages.

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