Recurrent Gestures of Hausa Speakers


Author: Izabela Will
Is the relation between gestures and language conventionalized? Is it possible to investigate the backgrounds of the users by means of these gestures?
This book offers an in-depth analysis and description of five recurrent gestures used by Hausa speakers from northern Nigeria, examined from a cross-cultural perspective. The method based on studying naturalistic data available online (sermons, interviews and talk shows) can be applied to other languages with no speech corpora. Particular attention is paid to cultural practices and routinized behavior that affect both the form of a gesture and its meaning. Everyday activities, such as greetings and religious rituals, as well as social hierarchy and gender differences are reflected in gestures. The results show that gestures and language reveal the shared cultural background of the speakers and reflect identical cognitive processes.

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Izabela Will, Ph.D. (2005), University of Warsaw, is Associate Professor at the Department of African Languages and Cultures at that university. She has published articles on Hausa language and culture and co-edited monographs concerning West African languages and African Studies.
List of Figures and Tables
Notational Conventions

Data and Method of Analysis
Content of the Book

1 Function, Meaning and Form of Gestures
 1.1  What is a Gesture?
 1.2  Gesture Phase
 1.3  Form of the Gesture
 1.4  The Role of Context in Determining the Function and Meaning of Gestures in an Utterance
 1.5  Human Hands as a Tool of Performing Gestures
 1.6  Types of Gestures
 1.7  Formal Approach Towards Gestures

2 Gestures, Language and Cognition
 2.1  Why Do We Gesture?
 2.2  Physical and Mental Integration of Language and Gestures
 2.3  Correlations between Lexicon and Gestures
 2.4  Correlations between Gestures and Grammar: Gesture-Grammar Nexus
 2.5  Schema—the Way to Understand Gesture and Language
 2.6  The Role of Metonymy in Language and Gestures
 2.7  Gestures and Metaphors

3 Hausa Culture, Society and Conceptualization of the World Exposed in Gestures
 3.1  Overview of the Hausa Culture
 3.2  Face-to-Face Communication and Orality
 3.3  The Connection between Listening and Understanding
 3.4  Repetition
 3.5  Alternate Use of Two Scripts: Latin and Arabic
 3.6  Hierarchy and Social Stratification
 3.7  Religious Practices
 3.8  Summary

4 The “Two-Finger Tap” Gesture
 4.1  The Form and Semantic Core of the “Two-Finger Tap” Gesture
 4.2  Friendship
 4.3  Marriage
 4.4  Meeting or Being in the Same Place
 4.5  Relationships between People
 4.6  Connection
 4.7  Equality and Comparison
 4.8  Introducing the Gesture Schema
 4.9  Cognitive Foundations of the “Two-Finger Tap” Gesture and the Hypothesis Concerning Its Origin
 4.10  Meanings of the “Two-Finger Tap” Gesture

5 Grasping Power—the “Holding” Gesture
 5.1  Heterogeneity of “Holding” Gesture
 5.2  From the Mundane Action to Gesture
 5.3  Giving, Taking and Receiving
 5.4  Transfer
 5.5  Reinforcement and Increase
 5.6  Eagerness to Undertake an Action
 5.7  Control and Power
 5.8  Respect
 5.9  Intensity and Quality
 5.10  Linking the Notions Associated with the “Holding” Gesture
 5.11  The Gesture Schema CONTROL and Its Cognitive Foundations

6 The “Washing” Gesture—a Member of the Family of “Away” Gestures
 6.1  Two Variants of the “Washing” Gesture
 6.2  Cleaning and Purification
 6.3  Improving
 6.4  Mental Dirt and Contamination
 6.5  Carelessness and Passive Acceptance
 6.6  Obviousness
 6.7  Rejection and Withdrawal
 6.8  Termination, Summary, Gist
 6.9  Totality, Completeness, Infinity
 6.10  Gesture Cluster
 6.11  Factors Affecting the Form of the “Washing” Gesture
 6.12  Gesture Schema REMOVAL

7 The “Shaking” Gesture and the Process of Schematization
 7.1  Formal Variants of the “Shaking” Gesture
 7.2  Finger Shaking and Negation
 7.3  Termination and Nonexistence
 7.4  The Concept of Truth and Certainty
 7.5  Disagreement, Opposition, Rejection
 7.6  Generality and Specificity
 7.7  Linking the Notions Associated with the “Shaking” Gesture
 7.8  Words Concurrent with the “Shaking” Gesture
 7.9  Gesture Schema CORRECTION

8 The “Snapping” Gesture, the Audible Gestures and the Sounds Accompanying Gestures
 8.1  Sounds in Gestures and Signs from the African Perspective
 8.2  Oral Gestures—a Link between Language and Gestures
 8.3  Audible Singular Gestures
 8.4  Audible Emblems
 8.5  The “Snapping” Gesture

9 Form and Meaning of Recurrent Gestures and Their Link to Speech
 9.1  The Emergence of Recurrent Gestures
 9.2  Cultural Conventions Affecting Form of Gestures
 9.3  Common Conceptualization Patterns in Gestures and Language
 9.4  Verbo-gestural Collocations
 9.5  Conclusion

For all those interested in co-speech gestures and multimodal communication, as well as anyone focusing on Hausa Studies and the languages of West Africa.