, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 333-358

How Does the Body Get Into the Mind?

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Abstract

In this article, we propose that gestures play an important role in the connection between sensorimotor experience and language. Gestures may be the link between bodily experience and verbal expression that advocates of “embodied cognition” have postulated. In a developmental sequence of communicative action, gestures, which are initially similar to action sequences, substantially shorten and represent actions in metonymic form. In another process, action sequences are based on kinesthetic schemata that themselves find their metaphoric expression in language. Again, gestures enact kinesthetic schemata that are correlated with verbal expressions. Examples from a large database are used to illustrate the various processes by means of which language arises when students conduct school science investigations.