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The use of semantically rich gestures in aphasic conversation

Kistner, J., Marshall, J. & Dipper, L. (2014). The use of semantically rich gestures in aphasic conversation. Paper presented at the 16th International Aphasia Rehabilitation Conference, 18-06-2014 - 20-06-2014, The Hague, Netherlands.


Background: Gestures play an important role in everyday communication. They provide additional information to conversation partners about the meaning of verbal utterances and help to clarify even abstract concepts. There is evidence that gestures are not simply produced for the benefit of the listener but also support the speaker. The relationship between speech and gesture is of great theoretical interest. Indeed the strong ties between speech and gesture have stimulated discussions about the neurological links between the modalities and the possible gestural origins of language. Because of the importance of gesture in communication, several studies have investigated the use of gestures in aphasia. Aphasia is a speech and language disorder caused by damage to the language areas of the brain e.g. because of stroke. It is important to know how people with aphasia (PWA) use gesture as both an accompaniment to speech and as a compensatory modality. Such knowledge can contribute to potential treatment regimes and may point to strategies that can assist everyday communication. Studying gesture use in people with compromised language can also contribute to the theoretical debate about the relationship between the modalities. Most studies to date have focused on the effects of gesture in structured naming tasks, rather than in more natural conversation.

Publication Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Publisher Keywords: aphasia; gesture; conversation; semantics
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Language & Communication Science
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