Kinesics: The Value of Gesture In Language and in the Language Classroom


  • Theresa A. Antes

    1. Wayne State University
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      Theresa A. Antes (Ph.D., Cornell University) is Assistant Professor of French Linguistics at Wayne State University, Detroit, MI.


ABSTRACT  Kinesics, the study of gesture and facial expression in a language system, has only recently received attention as an important subfield of semiotics or linguistics; however, the role played by gestures is undoubtedly as old as spoken language itself, if not older. Gestures are an integral part of everyday communication, sometimes accompanied by verbal language, sometimes standing alone. They make up a stock that is known (at least implicitly) to the members of a community, yet they often go unnoticed when talking about (and teaching) language, culture, and communication. This article shows the role that gestures play in language systems, evaluates them as a full-fledged semiotic system, and then shows the value of gestures in the foreign language classroom.