The origin of language in gesture–speech unity

Part 1: Language and Imagery

By Professor David McNeill

Why do we gesture? Many would say that it brings emphasis, energy, and ornamentation to speech (which is assumed to be the core of what is taking place); in short, as Adam Kendon says, also arguing against the view, gesture is an “add-on.”  However, the evidence is against this.  The reasons we gesture are more profound. Language is inseparable from imagery. The natural form of imagery with language is gesture, with the hands especially.  While gestures can enhance communication, the core is gesture and speech together. They are bound more tightly than saying the gesture is an “add-on” or “ornament” implies. Even if for some reason a gesture is not made (social inappropriateness, physical . . . → Read More: The origin of language in gesture–speech unity