Cognitive linguistics and gesture

Julius Hassemer, Vito Evola

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The contemporary interdisciplinary domain of gesture studies is heavily rooted in the cognitive linguistics enterprise (Evans, Bergen & Zinken, 2007), especially concerning its “cognitive commitment” (Lakoff, 1990: 40), aligning gesture research within research on cognition. There is a growing body of literature highlighting that gesture may very well be part of language competence, playing a decisive role in language evolution and development (see infra). The dual cognitive and social function of gestures is the primary focus in gesture studies, with gestural phenomena being viewed as offering “a window into the mind” and playing a vital role in social interactions. After providing a historical perspective and a brief overview of some fundamentals of gesture studies, this chapter will focus on functional and formal aspects found in gesture studies highlighting their relationship with cognitive linguistics. The chapter will then discuss the need for research on gestural meaning-making, or “gesture phonology”, and gesture categorisation before highlighting future directions in the area of human computer interaction.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics
EditorsXu Wen, John R. Taylor
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781351034708
ISBN (Print)9781138490710
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

NameRoutledge Handbooks in Linguistics


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