Morphosyntactic Correlates of Gestures: A Gesture Associated with Negation in French and Its Organisation with Speech

  • Simon HarrisonEmail author
  • Pierre Larrivée
Part of the Language, Cognition, and Mind book series (LCAM, volume 1)


In this paper, we present novel observations indicating that the syntax of clause negation in French constrains how speakers perform a specific gestural form associated with negation. As previously demonstrated for English (Harrison 2010), the Palm-Down-Horizontal-Across (PDA) gesture that we study tends to be coordinated with the main propositional negator and then held in space with the proceeding clause-mate elements. This tendency is confirmed by the French data from an audiovisual corpus of naturalistic conversations. These new data show that the PDA gesture stroke starts with the vocal marker of negation in French as well. This invites further investigation into the relation between propositional structure and structural aspects of gestures as a full component of linguistic organisation.


Gesture Clausal negation French 


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of English, University of Nottingham Ningbo ChinaNingboChina
  2. 2.Département des Sciences du Langage, CRISCO (EA4255)Université de Caen Basse-NormandieCaen CEDEX 5France

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