Vertical axis in gesticulation from the linguistic point of view

2014. № 1 (27), 42-89

Elena A. Grishina, Vinogradov Institute of Russian Language, RAS


The paper describes Russian iconic gestures, which are aligned with the verbs and include in their topology a vertical component, i.e., upward/downward movements. Four gesture families of vertically oriented gestures are analyzed, which are based on four gesture etymons, ‘top’/‘bottom’, ‘higher’/‘lower’, ‘distance’, ‘here’. These etymons motivate the whole range of semantic, pragmatic, referential, and syntactic functions of the vertical axis, which really may be called the linguistic axis in Russian gesticulation. The paper is based on the MURCO (Multimodal Russian Corpus) data.