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January 26, 2011

Words and Gestures are alike

Evolution has given human race the gift of bipedal anatomy (ability to walk on two legs) and ultimately two hands free to perform many tasks. Same aspect separates us from other species of creatures on the way of intellectual, technological, social, strategic and communicational development.

While talking, speaking, delivering speech, communicating and interacting face to face; we can control the flow of verbal output, emphasize, draw attention at, divert to, mimic, assert, confirm, clarify, signify or demonstrate/represent something by our arms, palms and fingers.

Apart of spoken words, gestures, signs and symbols generated by hands play a very significant role in communication to make it more visually acknowledgeable, clear, firm and interesting. Brain is more attuned to pick, process and store visual clues than words because our eyes receive almost 80 % of the total information from outside world. Hand gestures provide a 'helping hand' in understanding the information in a quicker and better way.

Gesticulating by hands, making hand gestures, gesticulation or gesturing is critically important part of human body language. In some cultures, making too many hand gestures, too frequent hand gestures or too bold hand gestures is strictly prohibited or frowned upon e. g. Southern India especially Tamilnadu. In other cultures, it has been accepted, adored and even institutionalized.

It's a quite shocking fact to know is that some people can't communicate without gesturing. For example, it’s proverbial truth that you can make Italian man silent just by tying his hands on his back. You can watch an interesting video that explains origin and meaning of different Italian gestures. Many of these gestures are global. Nice work by Mr. Carlo Italo Aurucci!

Moreover, words and especially symbolic gestures are alike. According to recent study done by fMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scanning of brain, words and gestures are processed by same areas inside it. Development of sign or code languages for verbally disabled people is very good example of adherence of verbal and nonverbal aspects of communication.

Gestures are also highly important while learning or teaching foreign languages, complex ideas, concepts, mechanisms, views or theories. It has been found that a person making or mimicking gestures is more likely to understand complex ideas and concepts and can learn new skills faster than a person who doesn't.

Intel's new gesture recognition technology allows you to control devices by making simple hand gestures like
turning knob by fingers to increase or decrease the volume of your TV or waving a palm to receive an incoming phone call on your cell phone. It's like converting hand gestures into verbal orders.

Discovering and meeting enormous potential of gesture recognition and their interaction with various objects has been transformed into SixthSense Technology by a young Indian scientist Dr. Pranav Mistry working at MIT Media Lab (Massachusetts, USA). It's definitely going to change the world in near future or already has.

[Mr. Carlo Italo Aurucci is a retired construction professional who has published several videos on Italian Sign Language and gestures on YouTube. Don't forget to watch them.]

Related Articles:
1) Positive Body Language 2) Hand Gestures 3) Self-communication by gesturing 4) Basic Gestures: Best Survival Tools for Travelers 5) Can body language reveal thoughts? 6) Cultural Connection with gesturing

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