Gesture and Thought by David McNeillGesture and Thought by David McNeill

Gesture and Thought

byDavid McNeill

Paperback | September 15, 2007

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David McNeill, a pioneer in the ongoing study of the relationship between gesture and language, here argues that gestures are active participants in both speaking and thinking. He posits that gestures are key ingredients in an “imagery-language dialectic” that fuels speech and thought. The smallest unit of this dialectic is the growth point, a snapshot of an utterance at its beginning psychological stage.

In Gesture and Thought, the central growth point comes from a Tweety Bird cartoon. Over the course of twenty-five years, the McNeill Lab showed this cartoon to numerous subjects who spoke a variety of languages, and a fascinating pattern emerged. The shape and timing of gestures depends not only on what speakers see but on what they take to be distinctive; this, in turn, depends on the context.  Those who remembered the same context saw the same distinctions and used similar gestures; those who forgot the context understood something different and changed gestures or used none at all. Thus, the gesture becomes part of the growth point—the building block of language and thought.

Gesture and Thought is an ambitious project in the ongoing study of how we communicate and how language is connected to thought.
David McNeill is professor emeritus of linguistics and psychology at the University of Chicago and director of the Center for Gesture and Speech. He is the author of four previous books, including Hand and Mind, also published by the University of Chicago Press, and the editor of Language and Gesture. 
Title:Gesture and ThoughtFormat:PaperbackDimensions:330 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.9 inPublished:September 15, 2007Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226514633

ISBN - 13:9780226514635

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Table of Contents

Part 1. Preliminaries
Chapter 1. Why Gestures?
Chapter 2. How Gestures Carry Meaning
Part 2. Dialectic
Chapter 3. Two Dimensions
Chapter 4. Imagery-Language Dialectic
4.1. Dialectic and Material Carriers
4.2. The Growth Point
4.3. Extensions of GP
4.4. Social-Interactive Context
Chapter 5. Discourse
Chapter 6. Children and Whorf
Part 3. Brain and Origins
Chapter 7. Neurogesture
Chapter 8. The Thought-Language-Hand Link and Language Origins
Appendix. Methods of Gesture Recording and Transcription, Including New Semiautomated Methods, Plus “The Growth Point”—A Poem.

Editorial Reviews

"In this eagerly awaited book, David McNeill presents a unified theory of language, speech, gesture, and thought. Until this book, no one had ever attempted to formulate a theoretical framework to explain why gesture and speech appear so tightly linked, nor had anyone considered how an integration of gesture and speech might affect linguistic theory. Here, McNeill challenges traditional concepts in psychology and linguistics by arguing for the integration of body and mind and of dynamic and static aspects of language and thought-as opposed to separating them. This is a radically innovative work that will become a classic in psychology, cognitive science, linguistics, and anthropology. After having read it nobody will ever be able to think that the body and the mind are separate things again."--Cornelia M???ller, Free University of Berlin