Hand gestures enjoyed an increasing attention in the last decades, thanks to their fine grained coordination with speech. Such coordination had been observed with respect either to the word content or to other verbal features. The study of co-speech gestures focused on the gestures’ forms, i.e., their structure; in other cases the attention had been on gestures’ consequences, i.e., their function. In the former, Authors struggled to find a way to reduce the infinite single gesture performances into a finite range of gesture categories on the basis of the gesture movement shape, via several taxonomies used to classify hand gestures. Different taxonomies can converge on some main categories and can be integrated, to some extent. In the latter, Authors strived to show associations between a gesture or gesture category and its consequences on the performer/speaker (facilitation function) or on the receiver and on the social interaction (conversational functions). Within the conversational functions, the rhetorical one enriches the content, the discursive one marks the syntactic structure of the discourse, the interactive one allows conversation management, the persuasive one convinces and influences the interlocutors. Further more specific communication functions have been identified.
Maricchiolo, F., Di Conza, A., Gnisci, A., Bonaiuto, M. (2014). Co-speech gestures: Structures and functions. In Body – Language – Communication: An International Handbook on Multimodality in Human Interaction (pp. 1461-1473). BERLINO : de Gruyter.