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Revista signos

On-line version ISSN 0718-0934


TABENSKY, Alexis. Gesture repetition in interactive discourse. Rev. signos [online]. 2004, vol.37, n.55, pp.41-58. ISSN 0718-0934.

This article is about the use of spontaneous gestures in interaction and, more precisely, about the repetition of the interlocutor's gestures. The analysis of four instances of gesture repetition found in two dyadic discussions with Spanish native speakers shows that this discursive activity operates in a way similar to verbal repetition. That is, the recipient can simply reproduce the interlocutor's gesture (retake) or recycle it by introducing various modifications (reformulation). All four instances of gesture repetition studied were performed by the same participant, who behaved almost like an interviewer with her partners. Gesture repetition played a part in facilitating the partners' speech in two areas: the negotiation of meaning (ideational dimension of language), and the conduct of interaction (discursive dimension of language). More importantly, gesture repetition is an indicator that speakers pay attention to the interlocutors' gestures, confirming the communicative purpose of gesture.

Keywords : gesture; repetition; interlocutor; interaction.

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