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The hand gestures that last longer than spoken languages

BBC Future: “The hand gestures that last longer than spoken languages…Gestures that communicate a specific meaning, like “I don’t know” or “everything is OK”, are called emblematic gestures. “If you look across cultures, these emblematic gestures are used for interpersonal control,” says Cooperrider. “They’re not used to describe objects. You might imagine that people will have a gesture for water, meat, for running and so on. But that’s not the case. These gestures are primarily about trying to manipulate the social world, to get people to stop doing what they’re doing or to respond to questions.” So, while there might be subtle differences, there are some basic meanings that most cultures seem to communicate with their hands and bodies. Cornelia Müller, a professor of linguistics from European University Viadrina Frankfurt, suggests that the basic building blocks of gesture can be broken down further. She describes four types of hand gestures: ones that mould, draw, act and represent….The Internet has opened up this explosion of informal written communication and there’s been this gap in what we can express in informal writing,” she says, “An emoji is one of the resources people have taken to fill that gap.”…

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