Radio Inspire

How To Learn Sign Language

UQx PSYC1030.1x 4-2-4 The role of gesture

Let’s talk about gestures. Before humans had language, presumably we
had ways of communicating: pointing, touching, and so on. These things are called emblems. They’re things that communicate something
without the need for words altogether. Many of them are hand gestures. We have really primitive simple ones for saying
“Hello,” for saying “Goodbye”—I guess it’s the same one. Hello, goodbye, it’s confusing. “Come here,” “Go away,” and so on. The head nod, the head shake, these are emblems
for yes and no in the western culture. We also have a bunch of emblems for insulting
people. I don’t know if I need to actually demonstrate
them to you. There’s probably about six or seven that are
like that. There we go. I said I wasn’t going to demonstrate, but
there they all are. There’s a whole lot of theories about where
they come from. No one really knows, but many of them are
hundreds and hundreds of years old. Some of them, not so much. This is a fairly recent one, right? That’s about twenty years old. I don’t know if people are still doing that. That’s something that kind of got imported
from the West coast of America, the loser gesture. Some of them died out altogether, and then
they come back. Have you seen this one? Do people do this? I think it’s making a bit of a comeback. That’s an old Shakespearian kind of thing. Actually in “Romeo and Juliet,” they say that,
“I bite my thumb at you.” You flick your front teeth with your thumbnail. These are kind of fighting words back in Shakespearian

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