Language and Evolution: Books, Presentations and Papers
Motor Theory of Language
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Chapter I Hypothesis:Phonological/Semantic Equivalence
Chapter II Parallelism of Speech and Gesture
Chapter IV Verification: Relation of Sound and Meaning
Chapter V Evidence from other languages
This Chapter contains the detailed development of the hypothesis that words and gestures are the parallel result of the patterning in the central nervous system associated with a particular percept, action &c. It attempts to establish an ordered relationship between the speech-elements which go to form the sound-sequences of words and the elements of bodily movement which go to form the complete gesture associated with a word. The chapter first considers the set of speech-sound elements and the principles on which these have been or can be formed into groups distinguished in a systematic way from each other. Secondly, it considers the possible gestural elements which go to form complete gestures and the basis on which these gesture-elements in their turn can be formed into systematically-distinguished groups. A hypothesis is then presented on the manner in which the ordered groups of speech-elements can be related to ordered groups of gestural elements. The concluding part of the chapter expounds in more detail the way in which the hypothesis is applied to the formation of letter-groups, syllables, monosyllabic words and polysyllabic words.
The initial task is to consider whether there is any reliable physiological or other basis for forming speech-elements on the one hand and gestural elements on the other into ordered groups.
The first question is how one delineates the population of speech sound-elements which are to be formed into functional groups. There is a wide choice of possibilities which in order of increasing sophistication can be listed as:
(1) the sounds associated with the individual letters of the alphabet in English;
(2) the sounds of the individual letters of the alphabet as used in a specific collection of English words;
(3) the sounds treated by phonetics as the minima of general analysis i.e. the phonemes identified in English;
(4) the elements resulting from analysis of an array of acoustically recorded speech sounds (in terms of formants &c);
(5) analysis of distinct speech sounds in terms of the physiological basis for their production i.e. in terms of configurations of the speech organs and patterns of the muscles used in articulation;
(6) analysis of distinct speech sounds in terms of the neurological patterns governing the positioning of speech organs and the temporal/spatial patterns of muscle change.
Approaches (5) and (6) are beyond reach at the present time. The approach in (4), the analysis of acoustic traces, is a subject of considerable debate and again is not a convenient basis for exposition in this book. Though of longer standing, the phonemic approach to the analysis of speech is also not without its difficulties and therefore in this part of the book the presentation of the relation between sound-elements and gestural elements starts from consideration of the groups contained in (1) and (2), that is the sounds associated with letters of the alphabet and sounds as used in a specific set of short English words.
The sounds associated with letters of the alphabet need to be specified as a start in a simple way because some letters have more than one sound associated with them and there are of course many possible variations in the way of pronouncing single letters (the difficulty which led to the development of the phonetic alphabet). Accordingly for the purposes of this chapter, the sounds associated with individual letters of the alphabet are taken to be those involved in the pronunciation of the following list of short English words:
A as in PAT O as in POT B BAT P PAT C CAT Q excluded D DOT R RAT E PET S SAT F FAT T TOT G GOT U PUTT H HAT U~ PUT I PIT V VAT J JOT W WAIT K excluded X EXIT L LOT Y YELL M MAT Z ZIGZAG N NOT
There are of course additional pronunciations which need to be accounted for, particularly long vowels, diphthongs &c but these will be dealt with later and the only additional sounds introduced at this stage are:
O~ as in TOE CH CHAT TH THINK EI PAY TH~ THAT SH SHOT AI PIKE
Now, if in the abstract, the attempt is made not only to separate this collection of letters and the sounds associated with them into groups which may have some natural or logical cohesion but also to arrange the letters and sounds within the groups in an order which also has some natural or logical justification, (with the objective of arriving at an ordered array of letters and sounds which may be related to an orderly array of gestural elements, as later presented), there are various ways in which the task can be approached:
(a) by examining the alphabet as it is. The alphabet itself consists of an ordered array of letters, containing within it certain groups, which has maintained a remarkable degree of stability over an extremely long period (the alphabet is a construct with not only a long history but an obscure and complicated one);
(b) by using so to speak extrinsic features of the sounds associated with letters to classify and order them e.g. the manner in which they are produced in terms of the positions of the articulatory organs. This is the normal phonetic approach;
(c) by examining how the letters, and the sounds associated with them, are used in relation to each other in the formation of words i.e. considering the functional interrelation of the speech-sounds denoted by the individual letters, the extent to which they can be combined with each other, at the beginning or end of words, the extent to which they may readily replace each other in related words, the extent to which they appear to have a similar acoustic quality to each other.
A common view is that the order and grouping of the alphabet is an arbitrary matter and that no useful information can be derived from considering it i.e. there is no naturalness about the order and no particular logic. Diringer and Driver have commented on the history of speculation about the order of the alphabet. The differences as well as the similarities of order between the Latin, the Greek, the Etruscan and Semitic alphabets suggest that the order is neither a random feature nor necessarily an artificial construct. The logical (phonetic) ordering of the Sanskrit alphabet shows that the early alphabet-makers did not inevitably overlook the problems involved in the choice of the order of the letters in the alphabet. However, for the Latin alphabet there is no immediately apparent principle on which it is arranged. Diringer makes little reference to this beyond noting that the Hebrew order of the letters seems to be the oldest and commenting that though there is some appearance of phonetic grouping in the North Semitic alphabet, this may be accidental. Driver in his chapter on the origin of the alphabet in Semitic Writing comments that while the order is firmly established, the reasons for it are by no means clear and have been keenly disputed; there are some curious features e.g. that the order of the collection of Sumerian signs (when given values in Accadian words) shows some parallelisms to the order of the Phoenician alphabet (and so to the Semitic and Latin alphabets) e.g. the group M N O P appears and also the order B D. Driver comments "The most fantastic reasons for the order of the letters have been suggested based, for example, on astral and lunar theories ... or on the formation of the alphabet to incorporate mnemonic words". He suggests that the Phoenician alphabet in fact falls into certain groups based on phonetic principles, first four plosives followed by four fricatives, a group of liquids, but this ordering is complicated by extraneous factors, similarities in form of the letters, similarities in meaning or association of the names of letters and so on.
Given that the problem of the order of letters not only in the Latin alphabet but also in other alphabets (apart from the Sanskrit) is unsolved i.e. there is no external logical principle which has been applied, it still remains of interest to compare the order in which the letters are arranged in case some natural grouping on a basis not consciously recognised has been at work. The Latin, Greek and Semitic alphabets in parallel are as follows:
A Alpha Aleph B Beta Beth C Gamma Gimel D Delta Daleth E Epsilon (He) F F-digamma Waw) Z Zeta Zayin H (Eta) Kheth TH Theta Teth J Iota Yod K Kappa Kaph L Lambda Lamed M Mu Mem N Nu Nun X Xi Samekh O Omicron Ayin P Pi Pe Q Koppa Qoph R Rho Resh S Sigma Shin T Tau Taw U Upsilon V Phi W X Khi Y Psi O Omega
The alphabets show a remarkable degree of parallel ordering. Differences in order appear to be due (i) to the inevitable differences because the Latin vowels are not distinguished in Hebrew (ii) because of the absence of some consonantal signs from the Latin alphabet e.g. for TH or from the Greek or Semitic alphabets e.g. J as distinguished from I (iii) because historically later letters tended to be added towards the end of the alphabet e.g. V, W, X, Y, Z in the Latin alphabet, Phi, Khi, Psi, Omega in the Greek alphabet (iv) because of the real differences in speech sounds between Hebrew, Greek and Latin e.g. some of the heavily aspirated sounds in Hebrew, the fluctuation in pronunciation of guttural sounds such as C, G and H, the different character of the Greek and Latin F and Z.
Despite these difficulties, some parallel ordering is apparent, for example the first three consonants B C(G) D, the grouping of the liquids L M N and the order L M N R apparent in all the alphabets; the ordering of the vowels A E I O U scattered throughout the alphabets, the grouping of vowels with their consonantalised forms in the Latin alphabet: I J and U V W. It is also interesting to note the placing of TH in the Greek and Semitic alphabets after the initial group of consonants.
Assuming that alphabets may reflect to some extent a natural ordering of letters related to the pronunciation of the sounds to which the letters refer, it may be appropriate to consider the order of the Latin alphabet by itself (in the light of different sound-values in Greek and Hebrew)
if one takes from the Latin alphabet the vowels in the order in which they appear: A E I O U leaving an initial group of consonants: B C D F G H followed by a consonantalised vowel: J
omitting K as a duplicate of C one then gets a semi-consonantal group in the order: L M N followed by R
leaving among the remaining consonants two plosives: P T three fricatives: S X Z.
The remaining grouping seems to be due to the linking of vowel and consonantal form: V W
and this leaves as the only remaining letter: Y which does not seem to be linked with any of the letters in proximity to it.
There remains, however, the question where, in these groupings, those sounds should be inserted which are common in English but have no distinct letter in the Latin alphabet i.e. CH TH TH~ SH (leaving out of account for the time being other vowel sounds and particularly diphthongs).
For TH and TH~, the Greek and Semitic alphabets suggest that they might be added after the first group of consonants i.e. after H. For SH, the Semitic alphabet puts it before T and presumably it might reasonably be inserted in the group:-
- S SH X Z
CH is not separately represented in any of the Latin, Greek and Semitic alphabets; it might reasonably be put between SH and T since it is close to being a combination of these sounds; alternatively it might be put next to J which it also closely resembles or next to C since CH is a normal development in pronunciation from C in Italian and some other languages. Russian, which has a separate letter for CH, puts it in a group with SH and SHTCH and after TS.
Examination of the order and grouping of the letters in the Latin alphabet (bearing in mind also the order and grouping of the Greek, Semitic and Cyrillic alphabets) suggests that, if there is any unconscious basis for the arrangement, so that the order is in some sense a natural one, the groups emerging are:
A E I O U B C D F G H (TH~) L M N R P T S SH X Z
leaving the placing of several letters more doubtful, namely:
J CH V W Y
Phonetics offers a number of ways of grouping speech-sound elements:
(i) in terms of vocalisation, forming the categories of vowels, semi-vowels, semi-consonants and consonants (voiced and unvoiced);
(ii) in terms of the place of articulation and organ of articulation;
(iii) in terms of the dynamic manner of articulation;
(iv) in terms of the acoustic characteristics of the speech-sounds.
In terms of vocalisation, using the sound-elements for the English words specified above, one gets the following groups:
Vowels A E I O U Semi-vowels W Y Semi-Consonants L M N R Consonants Voiced B D G TH~ J V Z Consonants Unvoiced C F H P S T X TH CH SH
In terms of place of articulation, for consonants one gets:
Bilabial B M P Labio-Dental F V Dental TH TH~ Alveolar D L N S T Z Post-Alveolar R Palato-Alveolar CH J SH Velar C G W Glottal H
In terms of dynamic manner of articulation, one gets:
Plosive B C D G P T Fricative F H TH TH~ SH S V X Z Affricate CH J Nasal M N Lateral L Approximant R W Y
If the attempt is to arrive at, in some sense, a physiologically significant system of grouping the speech-sounds and for ordering the sounds within each group, there is little to indicate on what basis the choice might be made between the three different phonetic bases of classification set out above - nor within these groups is there any clear indication of a gradient which might be used as the basis for determining the order in which the speech-elements should be ranged. Comparing the three separate classifications in terms of their possible significance, that in terms of the place of articulation seems least meaningful and systematic; in fact the point of articulation for different consonants is a very unstable and uncertain feature. The point of articulation, even within English words, may vary significantly depending on the position of the particular speech-sound within the word, initial, medial or final. It is not surprising then if classification by point of articulation does not appear very significant, particularly if one considers that in the complex muscular pattern involved in the formation of a consonant, the point of articulation is only one of many determining and interacting features.
The classification on the basis of vocalisation seems more significant in terms of the composition of words, the functional inter-relation of speech sounds and the affective quality of individual sounds. In particular, the vowels and the semi-consonants seem to form well-motivated classes. On the other hand, the rationality and significance of the distinction between voiced and unvoiced consonants is not apparent, except in the sense that the use of the feature of voicing provides a much larger number of usable phonemes than would otherwise be available. For the consonants, the classification by dynamic manner of articulation seems of greater importance. In particular the distinction between plosives and the various types of fricative seems psychologically significant and to reflect some real difference in the cumulation and rate of release of energy in realisation of speech-sounds. How far a gradient in the energy flow between the plosives and the fricatives can be established is a matter of experimental technique. Perhaps there may be a case for sub-dividing the class of fricatives to take out the sibilants S SH X Z into a sub-class leaving F H TH TH~ V as a second sub-group with a certain homogeneity.
However, these comments on the groupings resulting from traditional phonetic distinctions are necessarily impressionistic and speculative and the conclusion for the moment must be that overall the phonetic classifications do not give any appearance of inherent meaningfulness either in terms of the groups formed or in the order in which the speech-elements may be ranged.
De Saussure spoke about the possibility of a 'combinatory phonology' by which he meant that speech-sounds might be studied in their functional relationship to each other, not as phonetic forms in isolation. Modern research has emphasised the extent to which any speech-sound in use is modified by the sounds which precede or follow it so that the real subject of study becomes the individual sound in the varying contexts in which it is found. One way of using this approach in an attempt to see whether it is possible on a rational basis to form the individual speech-sounds into groups that have some semantic or psychological appropriateness is to consider how far each individual speech-sound can combine with any other speech-sound at particular points in the formation of a syllable i.e. at the beginning, in the middle or at the end. In English, certain combinations of speech-sound are impossible at the beginning of words, certain combinations are impossible at the end of words and certain combinations are impossible at any point in a word. Beyond this, clearly some combinations are much commoner than others.
If the search is for classes which can be sharply defined by the functioning of speech-sounds in actual English words, the most obvious starting point is to consider the class of combinations of two speech-sounds (other than vowels, semi-vowels or semi-consonants) which in fact are not found in English (other than in transliteration from a foreign language) so that one can arrive at a group of consonants, none of which will combine in the initial position with any other member of the group.
Such a group exists and contains 7 members. The table below demonstrates that the condition for formation of the group is satisfied i.e. no member will combine initially with any other member:
Group I B C D F G H TH~ B - BC BD BF BG BH BTH~ C CB - CD CF CG C(K)H CTH~ D DB DC - DF DG DH DTH~ F FB FC FD - FG FH FTH~ G GB GC GD - - GH GTH~ H HB HC HD HF HG - HTH~ TH~ TH~B TH~C TH~D TH~F TH~G TH~H -
This Group satisfies two sharp criteria, first that no letter in it can combine with any other letter initially and second that no letter can combine with any other letter medially other than as part of two distinct syllables.
A second class of speech-sounds can be formulated similarly to include other consonants which cannot combine with each other initially but may combine with each other in medial or final positions. The second group also contains 7 members and is as follows:
Group II V CH J P T TH Y V - VCH VJ VP VT VTH VY CH CHV - CHJ CHP CHT CHTH CHY J JV JCH - JP JT JTH JY P PV PCH PJ - PT PTH PY T TV TCH TJ TP - TTH TY TH THV THCH THJ THP THT - THY Y YV YCH YJ YP YT YTH -
If the letters/speech-sounds contained in Groups I and II above are removed from the extended alphabet (excluding vowels) the following letters/speech-sounds remain:
(a) L M N R
(b) S SH W X Z
The first question is whether any of these letters could be added to Group I or Group II without destroying the principles on which each of these two groups is formed. Clearly L M N and R could each combine medially or finally with one or more of the letters/speech-sounds included in Group I. Therefore they could not be added to Group I without destroying the principle on which it is founded. Equally the speech-sounds in (b) with the exception of X could not be added to Group I consistently with its principle of formation. As far as X is concerned, it represents in itself not a single but a double speech-sound KS and again could not be included in Group I. As far as Group II is concerned, L and R can obviously combine initially with several members of the Group and could not be added to it. M and N can each combine initially with one member of Group II - the speech-sound Y - and also have to be excluded from the Group. Of the letters in (b) above, S and W obviously can combine initially with one or more members of the Group and therefore cannot be members of it. X is excluded from consideration for the reason given above and this leaves the position of SH and Z to be determined. SH can in rare instances combine with at least one member of Group II. However, Z cannot combine initially with any member of Group II and the question arises whether it should properly be included in that Group.
The outcome is that there seem adequate grounds for excluding the remaining 9 letters from Groups I and II with the exception of doubt over the position of Z. Are there any principles on which the 9 letters could be classified, on combinatory principles, into one, two or more residual groups, which would involve sufficiently strict further criteria to retain Z in one of the residual groups rather than placing it in Group II?
There seems an intuitive appropriateness about (Group III)L M N R as a further group. This is a set of liquids, semi-consonants, which tend to function in a parallel way: L often substitutes for R and vice versa and M and N serve corresponding functions in the formation of words. As sonants, L M N R in combination perform a function similar but not identical to that of vowels and it seems right to keep them as a distinct group.
Similarly there seems an intuitive appropriateness about a group containing S SH X Z in terms of the contribution each of these makes to sound-combinations. S and Z function equivalently in the formation of plurals. Whilst S SH X Z will combine fairly readily with letters in other groups, they cannot combine with each other, initially, medially or finally. On this basis, neither L M N or R could be added to the Group containing S SH X Z. So provisionally these latter can be treated as a fourth Group.
Group IV S SH X Z
This leaves one problem letter/speech sound namely W. W is a semi-vowel rather than a semi-consonant and cannot automatically be added to the L M N R group. At the same time historically, though not in present-day sound combinations, W has had a close relation with R (in words beginning WR). Equally, W has had, and still has close links with Group IV because it combines readily initially with S (in words beginning SW) and historically but not as a present day speech-sound it combined with Z finally in words ending WS(Z). Perhaps one principle for excluding W from Group III is that each member of Group III will combine with one or other member of Group III - but W, as a current speech-sound, will not combine initially, medially or finally with any member of Group III. The conclusion is that if W is not left to form a group by itself, it can most appropriately perhaps be included in Group IV, the final form of which would then be
Group IV S SH W X Z
The tentative complete set of groups, formed on combinatory principles, accordingly is as follows:
Vocalic Group A E EI I O U
Group I B C D F G H TH~ Group II V CH J P T TH Y Group III S SH W X Z Semi-Consonants L M N R
There remains the question whether there is any basis on which the order in which the letters appear in the different groups can be determined. As regards Group I, since this is the class of combinations of letters/speech-sounds which do not exist, it is not possible to apply any frequency test to see whether any ordering on this basis would be appropriate. Also for reasons indicated earlier, no assistance in the ordering of the speech-sounds can be obtained from consideration of the phonetic groupings of these consonants; in particular, the point of articulation of the consonants seems to have no sufficient physiological or psychological significance to justify its use to determine an appropriate order for the consonants.
At the moment the letters/speech-sounds in Group I (except for TH~) are arranged in the order in which they appear in the Latin alphabet. If, as is possible, there is any natural (unconscious) ordering in the alphabet, then this is probably as good a basis as can be found, certainly in the absence of any other. This leaves the question of the point in the order at which TH~ should be placed. Earlier it has been suggested that the only guidance on this may be from considering the position in which TH appears in the parallel Greek and Semitic alphabets i.e. after B C D F G - but there is nothing conclusive about this given that the TH in the Greek alphabet is hard whereas TH~ is soft. It is not clear on this approach whether TH~ should be placed before or after H, which also does not figure in the Greek alphabet and which in the Semitic alphabet is a much more guttural sound different from Latin or English H. For the time being, it is left that TH~ may precede or follow H in the tentative ordering suggested.
As regards the Vocalic Group, the order A E I O U is traditional and there seems to be no good reason for disturbing it, except for the more speculative inclusion of EI. The same applies to the order of the Semi-Consonant Group L M N R.
For the second consonantal group, Group II, the question of order is, if anything, more difficult than for Group I. This contains two letters/speech-sounds which do not figure in the Latin alphabet - CH TH. Unlike Group I, the letters/speech-sounds contained in Group II can on occasion combine with each other and it would theoretically be possible to work out the frequency with which different combinations are found, in English, in medial or final positions. This would be a complex task and at the end it is not clear what conclusion one might draw as to an appropriate ordering of the letters from the result. Should one for example consider simply the total frequency with which a given letter/ speech sound is found in combination and rank the letters in this order? Should one take account, differently, of the forms in which a given letter is found in combination, giving a different weighting to medial and final combinations or to combinations in which the given letter/speech-sound is the first or second letter? Should an arrangement reflect the relative readiness of each letter/speech-sound to combine with the letters before or after it in the order?
The order in which the letters/speech-sounds in Group II have provisionally been placed is determined by the following considerations:
(1) the order J P T Y is the order in which the letters appear in the Latin alphabet and, for J P T, also the order derived from the Greek and Semitic alphabets. In the absence of any other principle of ordering, this seems, as argued for Group I, a reasonable basis for a provisional ordering;
(2) V has not been placed on the basis of the order in the Latin alphabet partly because the grouping U V W based on letter form determines V's position and partly because related or substitute letters in the Greek and Semitic alphabets appear in very different positions; there is no indicated position for CH;
(3) The solution adopted is to propose the order V CH J in so far as this can be argued to parallel psychologically B C D;
(4) This again leaves the question of where TH should be placed. Whilst in Group I, it was suggested that TH~ should be placed near H, this is no good guide for the position in the quite different sequence of letters/speech-sounds contained in Group II. The solution adopted has been to place it after T, in default of any more logical or psychologically appropriate place for it in the order.
For the last Group considered, the Group III set of consonants, the order is that of the alphabet with the insertion of SH after S (as discussed earlier). The difficulties about the inclusion of W in this Group have been considered but if it is to be included there seems no reason for placing in any different order from that in which it appears in the alphabet in relation to other letters in the Group.
This then is the explanation of the very tentative ordering of the letters/speech sounds contained in the different groups. The value and validity of the orders suggested remain precarious unless any separate means of validation can be found - and indeed the concept of a meaningful, natural order of any kind is still open to question.
It may be thought that the ordering proposed above rests too much weight on the guidance given by the order of letters found in the alphabet but this is in the absence of any other principle of ordering which suggests itself. Furthermore, the alphabet is not phonetically an insignificant product. It represents a primitive but in practice highly successful attempt to analyse into minimum elements the continuity of human speech-experience It is doubtful whether systematic phonetics has as yet presented anything of equivalent general utility. We cannot assume that the makers of the alphabet who on the whole were remarkably successful in isolating minimum phonetic elements out of the confusion of hieroglyphics and syllabaries were not also sensitive to the inter-relation of those elements so that the order in which they are presented (and which has been maintained largely unchanged over an extremely long period) has some evidential value and at a minimum raises questions about the physiological or psychological basis for the effectiveness of the alphabetic order as a mnemonic device.
The attempt in this section is to arrive at an understanding of the basis in muscle-function for the formation of gestures accompanying speech and in particular gestures of the hand and arm. This is with a view to analysis of gesture into well-ordered components based on muscle-function so that it will be possible to examine whether any relationship can be established between ordered groups of gestural elements and ordered groups of speech-sound elements i.e. the feasibility of a hypothesis that there is a direct and physiological speech-gesture relationship.
Obviously, analysis of gesture in terms of muscle-activation patterns is theoretically possible in the same way as any complicated voluntary movement might be analysed. Charlotte Wolff pointed out that "Each gesture is a synthesis of many movements. In walking, each step is the sum total of small, perfectly co-ordinated movements. Each gesture of the hand brings different muscles into play and is also a synthesis of more or less complex motor impulses ... Gestures correspond to a very complex psycho-motor mechanism." Analysis of neural control of movement is beyond our reach at the present time, The summary in Medical Physiology 1968 (ed. Mountcastle) says "We do not know how voluntary movements are engendered, nor where the 'orders' come from" so that the position has changed very little from what it was 20 or more years ago when Karl Lashley pointed out that we cannot give an explanation in terms of neurological function even of as simple a movement, apparently, as opening and clenching our fingers. But of course this does not mean that the muscles mechanically involved in particular movements cannot be identified and their combined working to produce particular movements analysed.
This involves consideration in particular of the muscles of the hand and arm involved in gesture, specification of the particular role of different sets of muscles and the manner in which they act together in producing movement of varying degrees of complexity. The muscles of the hand and arm are skeletal muscles and their manner of operation is similar to that of other striped muscle. Skeletal muscles contract quickly and relax promptly; the rate of action is highest in small and well-co-ordinated muscles like those of the hand (which incidentally however can be matched by the rate of activity in the chest muscles which determine the patterning of speech - Stetson Motor Phonetics). The degree of contraction of a skeletal muscle can be graded from the smallest hardly perceptible change by even steps to the largest possible contraction depending on the strength of the stimulus (the stronger the stimulus the more individual fibres respond to sum into the total movement).
Direct muscular contraction alone is not generally responsible for bodily movements; intermediate action of bony levers is usually essential. For example when the forearm is raised, the elbow serves as the fulcrum of the lever, the weight of the forearm is the resistance against the pull of the lever and the contraction of the biceps muscle in the upper arm provides the force to lift the forearm via the elbow-lever. The levers of the body and particularly of the arm are such as to make it possible to produce rapid delicate movements.
Almost all skeletal muscles occur in pairs and are usually arranged in antagonistic groups. The muscles located on the anterior surface of the arm and forearm are classified as flexors and those on the posterior surface are classified as extensors. The action of the flexors is to bend the arm and of the extensors to straighten the arm. When either the flexors or the extensors contract, the opposing group undergoes a degree of relaxation (though not total relaxation, still maintaining some basic muscle tone).
In controlling movements of the arm the muscles of the shoulder are also important. For example, the deltoid, covering the shoulder joint, is responsible for abduction i.e. it raises the arm out to the side and upwards. In the arm itself, the biceps is, as already indicated, responsible for flexion of the elbow and contributes to supination of the hand, that is the turning of the palm of the hand to face upwards. The triceps, also in the upper arm, is the direct antagonist of the biceps and is responsible for extension of the forearm. Muscles in the forearm have a number of functions; they contribute to extension of the elbow, extension, adduction and abduction of the wrist, extension of the fingers and supination of the hand. Muscles of the hand are responsible for fine movements of the fingers. In addition to flexion and extension, abduction and adduction, muscles acting together in a complicated way can also produce rotation of the upper arm on the shoulder (both inwards and outwards), rotation of the forearm at the elbow (again both inwards and out-wards) as well as a limited rotation of the hand on the wrist (largely depending on rotation of the bones of the forearm). In pronation and supination of the hand, the range of motion is through an arc of 180 degrees (the power for the movement of supination being provided by the biceps).
Despite the initial apparent complexity the basic movements of the hand and arm (other than fine movements of the fingers) which the various muscles produce can be classified quite simply into a few categories. The traditional terms for the movements subserved are:
ABDUCTION - the arm is moved away from the side of the body and moves through a semi-circle to arrive finally at a position pointing vertically upwards above the shoulder; ADDUCTION - the arm is moved in the contrary direction across the line of the body and upwards as far as the skeletal structure permits i.e. the arm is swung across the body and up; EXTENSION - the arm is straightened, unbending at the elbow to stretch forward; FLEXION - the reverse of extension, the arm bending at the elbow, at the limit to almost complete approximation of the forearm and upper arm; EXTERNAL ROTATION - the turning of the upper arm on the shoulder or the forearm on the elbow outward i.e. clockwise; INTERNAL ROTATION - the reverse of external rotation, with the upper arm turning inward on the shoulder or the forearm turning inward at the elbow; SUPINATION - the complex of movements of the arm and the hand which result in the hand being turned palm upwards; PRONATION - the inverse complex of movements of the arm and the hand resulting in the hand being turned palm downwards.
More simply the total movements of the arm can be presented in terms of the body's co-ordinates, front-back, side-side, up-down as:
(1) the arm is moved forward and upward until it ends pointing upwards above the head;
(2) the arm is moved out to the side and upwards, again ending pointing upwards above the shoulder;
(3) the arm is moved inwards and across the body, moving up at the same time as far as the skeletal system permits, with the forearm at the end pointing up in front of the face and head;
(4) the arm is rotated inwards or outwards on its axis;
(5) the arm is bent or straightened at the elbow.
Combination of these movements can produce all observed gesture (other than fine finger gesture). It is to be noted in the simple movements listed above, e.g. movement of the arm out from the side and upward ending pointing up above the shoulder, more than one class of movement may be involved i.e. in addition to abduction, there is also rotation of the arm at the shoulder to make possible the lifting of the arm above the head. Similarly, movement of the arm across the body and up in front of the face and head involves not only adduction but also flexion of the arm at the elbow to an increasing extent; movement of the arm forward in a straight line involves also the extensor muscles.
The question is how far the classes of movement described above are adequate to describe not only the positional aspects of gesture but its dynamic aspects. R.H. Stetson in 'Motor Phonetics - A Study of Speech Movements in Action' points out that the problem of motor phonetics is like the problem of the co-ordination of the movements of piano-playing, of typing or of other activities at high speed. "In discussing any system of skilled movements, there are three fundamental types of movement to consider:
(1) the movement of fixation: the opposing groups of muscles hold the member in position;
(2) the 'controlled' movement: in this type at least two opposing groups of muscles work together in producing the movement. Both the antagonistic muscle-groups are contracted throughout the movement. The direction of movement can be changed after it is under way ... The slow expiration of air in a prolonged vowel constitutes a "controlled" movement;
(3) the ballistic movement: the entire movement consists of a single jerk ... A study of the action of the muscles in such ballistic movements shows that the movement is started by a sudden contraction of the positive muscle group which immediately relaxes. During at least half the course of the movement, neither of the antagonistic muscle-groups is contracted, so that the moving member flies free. At the end of its course the movement is usually arrested by the contraction of the negative muscle-group. The movement is a movement by momentum". The negative muscles essentially exercise a braking function to bring the movement to a smooth stop.
As indicated, the categories of movements of the arm and hand are adequate to deal with the positional aspects of gesture but account has to be taken, in the case of gesture as for other skilled bodily movement, of the dynamic aspect - what Stetson referred to as the ballistic aspect of certain movements. Adding this category to the earlier ones, one ends with movements for the formation of gesture with hand and arm classified into five groups. For the first four groups, analysis into elements of movement involves recognition of the continuous character of the movements which can be described; the movements can proceed any distance and stop at any point so that the elements of any single movement could be defined in terms of the degree of muscle contraction. For the ballistic category of movement, the analysis is less simple; there is a combination in any movement of extent of muscle contraction, rate of muscle contraction, period of free ballistic movement and initiation of the braking action. The elements in orderly analysis of ballistic movement may well be in terms of energy released over time i.e. speed plus extent of movement. It is not clear whether comparable to the continuous gradient for the first four categories, there is a continuous gradient for ballistic movement or an atomistic one; provisionally it is assumed that ballistic movements can be arranged in a regular order on the basis of a smooth change in the rate of release of energy.
Whilst it must be considered as speculative, the scheme arrived at is the one sought i.e. classification of movements underlying gesture into classes systematically distinguished from each other, which comprise movements which can be arranged in an ordered sequence, movements from different classes and of different extents being capable of combination in a flexible way into any gross gesture of the hand and arm (leaving on one side as too complicated for the time being the formation of fine gestures of the fingers of the hand). These classes can be named as:
Group I Forward and upward movement
Group II Lateral movement
Group III Inward and upward movement
Group IV Rotation
Group V Ballistic movement
Within each of these groups, it is assumed that there can be a number of elements, members of the groups, identified in terms of even steps in the relevant dimension for the movement i.e. degrees of differences of position for Groups I II and III, degrees of extent of rotation for Group IV and degrees of ballistic energy for Group V.
This chapter has now arrived at the point where a systematically determined set of Groups of speech-sound elements has been provisionally presented, on the assumption that elements in each of the Groups can combine in a systematic way with elements from the same or other groups to form words. At the same time, a parallel set of Groups has been presented, equally provisionally, of muscle-movement elements, the components of each Group being determined in a systematic way to distinguish them from members of other Groups; in the same way as speech-sound elements can be combined into words, the muscle-movement elements drawn from the different Groups can be combined to form gestures.
The basic hypothesis in this Chapter is that the ordered Groups of speech-sound elements and muscle-movement elements can be equated, or related to each other in a systematic way i.e. speech-sound elements can be placed in a one-to-one correspondence with muscle-movement elements so that gesture and speech are homologous systems.
To develop the hypothesis further, it will be observed that for speech-sounds, five Groups of letter/speech-sound elements were defined namely:
(1) Vocalic Group (starting with A)
(2) Consonantal Group I (starting with B)
(3) Consonantal Group II (starting with V)
(4) Consonantal Group III (starting with S)
(5) Semi-consonantal Group (starting with L)
For muscle-movement elements, five Groups also were defined comprising:
(I) Forward and upward movement
(II) Lateral movement
(III) Inward and upward movement
(V) Ballistic movement
Assuming that each of the Groups of speech-sound elements corresponds systematically to one of the Groups of muscle-movement elements, the question is which Groups in fact correspond with each other. At first sight there seems no particular reason why any single Group of speech-sounds should be associated more closely than the other Groups with any single Group of muscle-movements. However, closer examination shows a way forward. If the use of the various elements in the different Groups of speech-sounds in the actual formation of simple words is examined, particularly in the formation of words relating to movement, some plausible correspondences between the speech-sound Groups and the muscle-movement Groups can be quickly established.
To take first, because perhaps it is most distinctive, simple words relating to a rotational or turning movement. These, for example include ROUND ROLL RUB TURN CORNER CURVE MILL MAZE MOULD MIX MINGLE BEND BALL CIRCLE CURVE FOLD
Many similar examples could be presented and it seems plausible to assume that the Semi-Consonantal Group (L M N R) tends especially to be associated with rotation and turning or bending movements (though there can be words whose meaning involves a turning movement but which do not include one of the members of the Semi-Consonantal Group - just as there are words containing members of the Semi-Consonantal Group which do not have any apparent reference to turning or bending movements).
The first correspondence then proposed between the Speech-sound Groups and the Muscle-Movement Groups is that of the Semi-Consonantal Group with the Rotation Muscle-Movement Group. The semi-consonantal group only contains a few members but equally the Rotation Muscle-Movement Group cannot be expected to have as many elements as some of the other muscle-movement groups which involve a much wider range of movement.
Following the same approach, the next step is to examine short words which seem to have particular reference to lateral movement, i.e. from side to side. Obvious examples are
SWEEP SWAY SWING SWIPE SHIVER SHAKE WAGGLE WOBBLE WAVER SIDLE WING Zigzag MAZE
The next correspondence accordingly is established between Consonantal Group III and the Lateral Group of muscle-movement.
The next group of muscle-movements considered in the same way is the Ballistic Group, the elements of which involve vigorous projective movements. The Group of Speech-sound Elements which seems in character to go best with the Ballistic Group is Consonantal Group II. Typical short words involving speech-sounds from this Group are:
JUMP JERK LEAP CHARGE CHUCK PUSH PRESS POINT STAB TUG THROW THRUST YANK YONDER Vim VIGOUR SHOVE DRIVE VIOLENT
This leaves two Groups of speech-sounds and two Groups of muscle-movements unmatched, on the one hand the Vocalic and Main Consonantal Groups, on the other the Groups for muscle-movement Forward and Upward (I) and Inward and Upward (III)
It is not possible in choosing between these two remaining Groups to follow the course used for other Groups of giving examples of short words which seem to be related to specific types of movements and to contain letters from a specific sound-element group because, by definition, all words must contain vowels as well as consonants, though not all words must contain consonants as well as vowels. One possibility is to consider whether vowels without consonants give any guide; another is to consider whether simple words formed of a vowel with a consonant not belonging to the main Consonantal Group (I) give any indication whether a forward movement or a movement across the body (Muscle-Movement Groups I and III) is more likely to be associated with the vowel. The following words either have no consonant or a consonant drawn from the Ballistic Group (use of consonants drawn from the Lateral and Rotation Groups would be unlikely to be helpful):
AT UP THAT PUT EYE EAR TOP TOUCH
None of these words suggest a movement across the body; in so far as relevant gestures can be conceived, they would seem to be in the forward and upward plane i.e. the Group of vowels is more likely to be associated with Group I of muscle-movements - Forward and Upward Movement of the arm. This would leave the main Consonantal Group to be placed in correspondence with Group III of muscle-movements, Inward and Upward movement of the arm across the body However, these correspondences are, for the time being, particularly insecurely established and the real test of validity lies in the further detailed exploration of the implications of the scheme of sound/muscular set relationships presented.
It is now possible to set out systematically the broad correspondences arrived at (though still very tentative) between Groups of speech-sound elements and Groups of muscle-movement elements. In tabular form they are as follows:
Vocalic Group Forward and upward group (I)
Main Consonantal Group Inward and upward group (III)
Consonantal Group (II) Ballistic group (V)
Consonantal Group (III) Lateral group (III)
Semi-Consonantal Group Rotation group (IV)
On the assumption that these corresponding groups are equivalent, they can be formed into a single set of five Groups with the following names which will be used for the combined speech sound/muscle element sets in the remainder of this chapter:
(i) Vocalic Group or Line (ii) Main Consonantal Group or Line (iii) Projective Group (Ballistic) (iv) Lateral Group (Semi-consonantal) (v) Circular Group
The order in which the speech-sound elements are arrayed in the various letter/speech-sound groups was considered earlier and a scheme of ordering provisionally suggested for each group e.g. the vocalic group was taken in order from A to U and the main consonantal group was taken in order from B to H TH~.
It has been assumed that the groups of muscle-movement elements can also be arranged in a specific order which involves a progressive stepwise change in position on the particular line of movement characteristic of each group or, in the case of the projective group, a regular change in the energy of the ballistic movement.
The question now for consideration is how the order posited for the speech-sound elements in any combined group should be related to the order posited for the muscle-movement elements in the same group. So, for example, in relation to the Vocalic Group or Line, which assumed that the arm is raised in a straight line from an initially low and forward position to a final upward position, the specific question is whether A corresponds with the initial low position or approaches the final high position. The only way of tackling this question again seems to be to consider whether a collection of short words composed of vowels and (for the reason earlier given) of consonants from the Projective Group offers any clue to the answer. The sample of words is as follows:
PAT JET EYE TIP TOP UP
These suggest that A might more appropriately be equated with the lower end of the forward and upward movement associated with the Vocalic Line and that U can more appropriately be associated with the higher end of the Vocalic Line. This implies that E I O are associated with intermediate positions on the Vocalic Line.
For the Main Consonantal Line, which also is associated with movement of the arm from an initially low level to a final high level, the same technique can be used to answer the question whether B, for example, should be associated with the lower or the higher end of the line and equally whether H should be associated with the lower or the upper end of the line. The sample of words for this purpose is as follows:
HEAD HIGH HAT HILL BOTTOM BASE BUTT BENEATH
These words suggest that B should be associated with the lower end of the Main Consonantal Line and H with the upper end of the line.
For the Projective Group, the order suggested for the speech-elements earlier is not a very familiar one; it runs from V to Y as follows:
V CH J P T TH Y
The nature of the elements of the muscle-movements composing the Projective Group is less clear than for the Vocalic or Main Consonantal Line; they are assumed to be arranged in an order of intensity. A sample of words can be presented for consideration in order to reach a view whether V represents the high or the low end of the gradient of intensity and equally whether T TH Y are more or less intense than V:
VAULT VENT VOMIT VIM JUMP JERK TOSS THROW YANK
This is more difficult to judge than the order of the other Groups but in the choice between having V as the high or the low end of the gradient of intensity, on the whole it seems more appropriate to assume that it is at the low end and that T TH Y are at the high end.
For the Lateral Group, a small group, the question is whether S or Z is more likely to be associated with a larger sideways movement of the arm away from the body. There are few words beginning with Z or X so that it is difficult to compile a sample of words which may indicate the answer. However, the following are presented:
SUMP SIDE SET SEA SINK SAG SHAKE WAG WAVE WING WIDE ZIGZAG ZENITH ZODIAC
The conclusion drawn is that S is more likely to be associated with a small movement of the arm away to the side of the body and that W and Z are more likely to be associated with larger lateral movements.
Finally, it remains to consider how the speech-elements in the Circular Group should be related to the rotation or turning movement in the corresponding muscle-movement group. Does L involve a larger or a smaller turning movement of the arm than R? The following is a selection of words including the different speech-sounds in the Circular Group:
LEAN RUB ROUND TURN LOLL MOON ROTARY RING MOW ROW GYRE TORQUE ORB
There is difficulty in finding criterial words because often a word contains more than one element from the Circular Group e.g. CURL FURL CIRCLE &c. The conclusion reached is that L is more likely to be associated with a smaller degree of rotation and R with a larger (and for that matter probably more vigorous) degree of rotation.
With this conclusion about the relative ordering of the Circular Group, this completes the examination of the corresponding orders of the speech-sound elements and the muscle-movements in the Five combined groups. To summarise, the results are as follows:
(i) Vocalic Line - This runs from A which represents the lowest point to U which is the highest point for the five principal vowels;
(ii) Main Consonantal Line - This runs from B which represents the lowest point on the line to H and TH~ which are at the highest end;
(iii) Projective Group - This runs from V with the lowest intensity to T TH Y which have the greatest intensity;
(iv) Lateral Group - This goes from S which involves the smallest movement to Z which involves the largest movement in the group;
(v) Circular Group - This has L as involving the least turning movement and R as the greatest turning movement.
This section sets out systematically the specific gestural elements corresponding with individual letter/speech sound elements falling within each of the five Groups identified above i.e. establishing what specific position or movement of the arm corresponds to A or E, D or F, P or T, L or R, S or W &c. This involves describing in words what clearly could be more easily visually demonstrated. Therefore to supplement the verbal descriptions, a collection of photographs illustrating different gestural elements has been prepared.
There is a second preliminary point. In the previous section, the reasons for identifying the Vocalic Line, for example, (A E I O U &c) with a range of gestures involved in the movement forward and upward of the hand and arm have been explained as well as the basis on which the relative order of the sound elements and the movement elements is tentatively established i.e. that A is associated with the lower end of the movement and U with the higher end of the movement. This section now sets out a scheme for the precise relationship between the individual letter/sound elements and specific positions or movements of the arm and hand. No attempt at this stage is made to explain and justify each individual speech sound/position relationship. This would confuse the exposition of what is inevitably already very detailed material difficult to absorb because, as already stated, it attempts to express in words what would be more easily visually demonstrated. The validity of the specific sound/position or movement relationships, which are for the moment presented as a detailed development of the basic hypothesis, is ultimately to be verified by examination of the consistency of the relations posited with the gestures plausibly associated later in this chapter with a collection of simple words.
The Vocalic Line comprises, besides the short vowels A E I O U, the long vowels and the diphthongs. The Vocalic Line is systematically related also to the set of nasalised vowels but since these are not particularly important in English, they are not dealt with here. The three groups of vowels covered, with the specific sound values given to them in this book, are as follows:
SHORT VOWELS LONG VOWELS DIPHTHONGS as in as in as in A PAT AA PART AI PIKE E PET EE PARE EI PAY I PIT II PEEL AO POUT O POT OO PAW AU HOWL U PUTT UU (PEARL) OI QUOIT U~ PUT UU~ POOL O~ TOE
Each of these vowels is associated with a specific position of the hand and arm on the forward and upward movement of the arm to which the Vocalic Line is assumed to correspond. For the approximate positions of the main vowels, see the photographs but they can be verbally described as follows:
Short Vowels A - arm extended forward, elbow slightly bent, hand at level of abdomen E - arm position similar to A but somewhat higher, hand at level of chest I - arm position somewhat higher than E, hand at about level of chin O - arm position somewhat higher than I, hand nearly at level of the cheek U - arm position higher than for O, fingers just above the level of the top of the head U - arm position slightly forward of that for U Long Vowels AA - arm higher than for U, hand and arm generally pointing up EE - arm somewhat higher than for AA II - arm position similar to EE but more stretched up OO - arm more stretched than for II (only small difference from II) UU - arm stretched almost vertically upwards UU~ - arm stretched vertically upwards Diphthongs AI - arm and hand in position between A and I EI - arm and hand in position between E and I AO - arm and hand in position between E and I AU - arm and hand in position just below U OI - arm and hand in position between I and O O~ - arm and hand in position slightly forward of that for O AII - arm and hand in position slightly higher than U
MAIN CONSONANTAL LINE
The Main Consonantal Line consists of the letters /speech-sound elements B C D F G TH~ H. The sound values given to these consonants are as follows:
B as in BAT C CAT D DOT F FAT TH~ THAT G GOT H HAT
Each of these consonants is associated with a specific position of the hand and arm on the inward and upward movement of the arm to which the Main Consonantal Line is assumed to correspond. Again, for the approximate positions, reference should be made to the photographs but the positions can be described as follows:
B - arm and hand in front of the body, lower arm and hand turned in facing the body, hand at about the level of the breast (much the same level as for E), fingers opposite the centre line of the body
C - arm and hand in position similar to B but arm higher with hand at about the level of the neck
D - arm and hand position similar to C and B but hand about level with the mouth and cheek
F - arm higher than for D, fingers level with the bridge of the nose and lower forehead (hand at angle of 45 degrees to horizontal with the fingers higher than the palm of the hand)
TH~ - arm higher than for F though position close to that for F, fingers level with the upper part of the forehead
G - arm higher than for TH~ with fingers level with top of the head (fingertips still in line with the centre-line of the body)
H - arm higher than for G, hand just above the level of the top of the head.
It should be noted that the positions of the hand and arm given above for the speech-sounds in the Main Consonantal Line are those appropriate when the consonants are found in the initial position in a word or syllable i.e. as in BAT but not as in TAB. If the consonant appears at the end of a word or syllable, then the corresponding gestural position is different from that for the consonant at the beginning of a word or syllable. However, the set of positions of the arm and hand for the consonants appearing finally is systematically related to the set of positions for the consonants appearing initially. The positions of the arm and hand for the consonants appearing finally are 'reflected' forms of the positions of the arm and hand for the consonants described above.
The Projective Group consists of the letters/speechsound elements - V CH J P TH T Y. The sound values given to these consonants are as follows:
V as in VAT
Each of these consonants is associated with a specific forward and upward movement of the hand and arm (not simply a position) in the same plane as that formed by the hand and arm in the forward and upward movement in which the elements of the Vocalic Line represent particular positions. Not only is description of the elements of the Projective Group more difficult than that of elements of the Vocalic and Main Consonantal Lines (because of the aspect of movement) but also, for the same reason, the elements can be only partially indicated by means of photographs. The photographs show approximately the final position corresponding to members of the Projective Group but obviously cannot indicate the starting position and movement up to the final position. Subject to these qualifications, a verbal description of the equivalents of the elements in the Projective Group is as follows:
V - hand and arm move forward a short way from an initial position below B to a final position somewhat lower than A (with the arm slightly less bent than for A)
CH - hand and arm move forward to final position slightly higher and further stretched forward than for V - hand level with lower chest
J - hand and arm move forward to position slightly higher than for CH and further stretched forward
P - arm and hand move forward to final position stretched forward somewhat above level for A and not far from that for E
T - arm and hand move to final position stretched out straight forwards and slightly upwards (hand about level with shoulder)
TH - arm and hand move to final position slightly higher than T and stretched out more vigorously
Y - arm and hand move to final position higher than for T or TH, the arm moving up and out from an initial I position, the hand ending about level with the forehead and the forearm pointing up at an angle of about 45 degrees
In the case of consonants in the Main Consonantal Line, it was pointed out that the positions associated with the particular letters/sound elements differed systematically depending on whether the consonant is used initially or finally in a word or syllable. A somewhat similar difference also exists in the case of consonants in the Projective Group but the positions and degree of movement associated with the use of the consonant in a final position differ very little from the positions and degree of movement for the consonants used in an initial position. It is not thought necessary to describe the differences here.
The Lateral Group consists of the letters/speech-sound elements - S SH W X Z . The sound values given to these consonants are as follows:
S as in SAT
The consonants in this Group (similarly to the consonants in the Circular Group) combine, for the most part quite readily, with consonants from other groups. This means that they normally operate as a modification of the position and movement associated with the consonants with which they are combined. The specific movement associated with individual members of this Group accordingly depends to a considerable extent on the position of the hand and arm initially. The equivalents in terms of position and movement given below for the elements of the Group are accordingly in terms of the modification in the position of the hand and arm which results from the individual letter/sound element if the arm is taken as being in the neutral initial position: hanging loose at the side with the hand pointing down and turned with the palm in to the side of the body. Photographs are not very satisfactory for illustrating the lateral movement associated with members of this Group, partly because the position reached is not held, as is the case for consonants in the two groups already considered. Subject to these qualifications, a verbal description of the gestural-element equivalents of the consonants in the Lateral Group is as follows:
S - a small movement, with the arm hanging loose, of the hand and arm inwards towards the body (with the arm swinging back after the inward movement);
SH - a similar movement to S but larger (perhaps twice as large)
W - a sideways movement similar to SH but larger (about three times as large as for S); there is a marked swing bock following the movement associated with W
X - similar to W but a larger movement
Z - somewhat larger movement than for X.
In the same way as for the elements in the Main Consonantal Line, the movements associated with the consonants in the Lateral Group used initially differ from those associated with the same consonants used medially or finally. The medial and final forms "reflect" fairly precisely the forms associated with the consonants used initially:
(i.e. for letters used medially or finally)
S - the same movement for initial S i.e. a small movement, with the arm hanging loose and no bending of the elbow - but away from the side of the body
SH - the same movement as for the initial form of SH but again away from the body
W - a rather larger outward movement away from the body (arm at an angle of about 45 degrees from the side of the body)
X - a somewhat larger movement than for the medial or final form of W
Z - a large movement of the arm out from the side of the body to a position nearly horizontal from the shoulder - the movement is larger than for initial Z which is anatomically restricted.
The Circular Group consists of the letters/speech-sound elements - L M N R. The sound values given to these semi-consonants are:
L as in LOT
As has already been mentioned, the letters/sound elements in this Group combine, for the most part quite readily, with consonants from other groups and operate as a modification of the position and movement associated with the consonants with which they are combined.
For determining the movements associated with sound elements in the Circular Group, the initial position of the hand and arm is of critical importance; this is because the elements represent a movement superimposed on and altered by the existing position If, for example, the arm hangs loose at the side with the hand facing backwards, then completely different total movements result from the sound-elements in the Circular Group as compared with those if the hand and arm are in the neutral normal position i.e. hanging loose at the side but with the hand facing palm inwards to the side of the body. Photographs are not very satisfactory for illustrating the rather small rotatory movements associated with letters in this Group (at any rate when the arm is in the neutral normal position) but a verbal description is possible as follows:
L - a small anti-clockwise turn of the (right) hand and arm (about one eighth turn)
M - a similar turn to that for L but larger (about a quarter turn)
N - a larger turning movement than for M (about three eighths' turn)
R - a larger turning movement (about one-half turn anti-clockwise) with a marked tendency for the turn to reverse clockwise to the initial position
In the same way as for the elements in the Main Consonantal Line and the Lateral Group, the movements associated with letters/sound elements in the Circular Group are systematically different if the letters are used medially or finally from what they are if they are used initially. The "reflected" forms of the Circular Group are quite straightforward:
L - a small rotatory movement similar to the initial form of L but clockwise - the right hand and arm turning outwards
M - a similar movement to initial M but again clockwise, not anti-clockwise
N - a clockwise movement of similar extent to initial N
R - a reverse movement to that for initial R but for anatomical reasons the clockwise movement cannot be quite as large as the anti-clockwise movement
The essential next step after the inventory that has been presented of equivalence between simple letter/speech-sound elements and simple muscle-movement and position elements (set out in the immediately preceding section for the five Groups) is to indicate the positions or movements of the hand and arm which result from the combination of two letter/speech-sound elements (drawn from the same or different groups) with the corresponding combination of the associated muscle-movement and position elements i.e the corresponding gestural elements. Whilst there are a few meaningful words which consist of a single speech-sound (a vowel), to make an effective start on testing the validity of the scheme of phonological/semantic equivalence presented in this chapter, the vital step is to be able to analyse words which consist of two or more speech-sound elements, so that one can see how far the gesture equivalent to a word (on the basis of the hypothesis presented) has a comprehensible relationship to the meaning of the word.
Now for some of the Groups, the type of movement involved is not a simple one in terms of the underlying muscle-patterning. The combination of complex underlying patterning of perhaps a number of muscles will be even more complex. It does not follow that for all combinations of two elements of position or movement (corresponding to particular speech-sounds) any simple additive approach is necessarily correct (the problems are more analogous to the composition of complex vectors). In fact, for some combinations of two elements, the relation between the two elements considered separately on the one hand and the gesture corresponding to the combination of them is a very complicated one which requires careful analysis. Nevertheless, the contention is that combinations of two elements (and the argument is later extended to three or more elements) take place in accordance with a specifiable and limited set of principles which are understandable or explicable in terms of underlying muscle-functions.
The approach adopted in this section, however, is to present a set of resultant gestures (movements or positions of the hand and arm) which are equivalent to the different categories of combination of letter/speech-sound elements which are possible. Only a selected list is given - because, of course, the number of possible two-element combinations, of the 41 letter/speech-sound elements dealt with in the previous section, is very large (even allowing for the fact that a number of two-element combinations are not found at all in the English vocabulary).
In English, as has already been said, out of the theoretically possible 2-element combinations, only certain are actually realised. Theoretically, 2-element combinations might be formed of elements both drawn from the same Group or drawn from different Groups. It is proposed to leave out of consideration 2-element combinations where both the elements are the same i.e. double letters such as TT and BB; equally it is proposed to leave out of account 2-element combinations where both elements are drawn from the Vocalic Line. Beyond this, it is (in view of the principles on which the Groups were formed) not possible to form 2-element combinations where both elements are drawn from the Main Consonantal Line or to form initial 2-element combinations where both elements are drawn from the Projective Group.
In this section accordingly, 2-element combinations are considered in the following order:
(1) (a) Combinations where the initial letter is drawn from the Main Consonantal Line and the second letter/speech-sound is a vowel; (b) Combinations where the initial letter is a vowel and the second letter is drawn from the Main Consonantal Line;
(2) Combinations where the initial letter is drawn from the Projective Group and the second letter is a vowel;
(3) Combinations of elements drawn from the Vocalic Line and the Lateral Group, in either order;
(4) Combinations of elements drawn from the Vocalic Line and the Circular Group, in either order;
(5) Selected examples of 2-element combinations where the elements are drawn from different consonantal groups (including the Circular Group).
The collection of 2-element combinations with one element from the Main Consonantal Line and one from the Vocalic Line theoretically contains 210 different combinations (the 7 elements of the Main Consonantal Line taken with each of the 15 elements in the Vocalic Line, in either direct or reverse order). It is not convenient to deal separately with each of these. This section deals with the following typical categories:
(1) Combinations of the form:
BA CA and so on for the remaining consonants in the Group
BE CE D F TH~ G H
(2) and the reverse of these:
AB and so on. EB IB OB UB
The combinations of the consonants with the long vowels and diphthongs are not separately considered though the same principles apply.
The different combinations, in direct or reverse order, are found to fall into (i) the normal, stable form of combination (ii) unstable forms of combination. As indicated later, the unstable forms of combination may resolve themselves into a second, more stable form (often the reflected form) or into more complex positions and movements. The unstable positions appear to arise when the combination of the given consonant and vowel produces a result in muscular set which is physically painful or awkward; the more awkward the position, the more unstable it appears to be and the greater the tendency to resolve itself into its reflected position or some more complex position or movement.
The positions corresponding to the combinations BA BE BI &c appear to be a relatively simple compounding of the positions with which the elements B on the one hand and A E I &c on the other are separately associated. The positions may be described as follows:
BA - the position of the hand and forearm are somewhat higher than for B in isolation, the hand level with the lower throat, the fingers a little way to the side away from the centre line. The changed position as compared with B in isolation is produced by a small rotation of the forearm on the elbow;
BE - the position of the hand and arm is higher than for BA with the hand at about the level of the chin and the finger-tips a little further away from the centre-line - the position appears to lie on the continuation of the line joining the positions B and BA;
BI - with a continued turning movement of the forearm, the position of the hand is somewhat higher than for BE with the finger-tips about level with the mouth;
BO - a similar change of position with the fingertips about level with the eyes;
BU - a continuation of the previous line joining the earlier positions of the different combinations with the fingertips about level with the forehead and the hand at the side of the head.
The combinations of C with the different vowels are formed in a parallel way to the combinations of B with the different vowels except that since the C position in isolation is higher than the B position in isolation, the combinations with a vowel are regularly higher than the corresponding B combination with the same vowel. So:
CU - forearm and hand point upwards, fingers at the level of the temple and scalp, parallel to the face.
The position of D in isolation is higher than for B or C in isolation. When it is compounded with elements in the Vocalic Line, the main effect is to shift the resulting position more out to the side and away from the centre line. This applies for DA DE and Dl.
However, with DO a new phenomenon of combination becomes apparent. The description is as follows:
DO - hand at a higher level than for Dl but further out. D and O are positions in isolation which are fairly close together. Combined, they are unstable. If the position is held, it tends to resolve into a movement of the hand and arm at right angles to the line joining the positions D and O, with the arm stretching out and upwards and then converting into the reflected movement which brings the arm down into a low position, with the hand pointing downwards and across the body.
FA - is a regular formation from the position for F and A with the arm and hand higher and further out from the centre-line of the body than for F in isolation
FE Fl FO FU are unstable or nearly unstable positions.
GA and GE are formed regularly from the elements.
GI - a just unstable position - initially hand and arm are a little higher and further out to the side than GE but move to the reflected position with the hand and arm pointing down and across the body, the final position of the (right) hand being at the left side of the abdomen
GO - an unstable position
GU - a stable position
All the combinations of H with the five short vowels are stable and regularly formed:
HA - position slightly higher and further out from the centre-line of the body than for H in isolation
HE - position of arm and hand between that for HA and that for GE i.e. slightly higher and further out than HA
HI - position a little higher and further out than HE
HO - position on much the same level as HI but slightly further out
HU - slightly further out than HO so that upper arm and forearm form a right angle, with the forearm vertically upward and the upper arm stretched out horizontally from the shoulder.
This then completes a quick survey of the manner in which combinations of 2-elements drawn from the Main Consonantal Line and the Vocalic Line are formed. The principles of combination for the stable and regular forms are fairly obvious but the main question left is about the manner in which awkward and therefore unstable combinations resolve themselves either into the reflected form or into more complicated positions and movements.
In summary, the combination of two elements, the first drawn from the Main Consonantal Line and the second from the Vocalic Line can result:
(i) in the specification of positions of the hand and arm essentially intermediate between the positions corresponding to each of the elements taken separately;
(ii) in the specification of positions which are reflected forms of the positions intermediate between the two elementary positions taken separately;
(iii) in more complex positions and movements which, however, are not arbitrary but of a well-defined character.
In total, these combinations of two elements provide a substantial number of defined gestural positions and movements which contribute in various ways to the total gesture associated with an individual word.
The combinations of a vowel with B as the second letter produce the following positions or movements:
AB - a reflected position of BA i.e. the hand and arm are at the same level as for BA and the elbow is bent to the same extent but the hand and arm are turned outwards to the side of the body, not across the body. The position is somewhat unstable.
EB - a reflected position of BE but unstable.
IB - again initially a reflection of BI but awkward and unstable.
OB - an awkward and unstable position converting into a circling forward movement.
UB - again an awkward and unstable position, initially a reflection of BU but resolving into a slow vigorous forward circling movement.
The development of the positions and movements is very similar for combinations such as AC and AID. AC is almost completely stable as a reflected form of CA but the other combinations with C are unstable. All the combinations of the form (vowel)D are more or less unstable,
Similarly all the combinations (vowel)F are more or less unstable. The combinations (vowel)TH~ are somewhat more stable and the combinations (vowel)G are somewhat more unstable than AC or AD. So:
OG - unstable position resolving into a movement with the hand moving in a small anticlockwise circle above the head.
It is proposed to deal much more summarily in this chapter with 2-element combinations where one element is drawn from another consonantal group (the Projective, Lateral or Circular Groups) and the other from the Vocalic Line. This is not because such combinations are less important than those involving the Main Consonantal Line but because to present them fully would be very lengthy. Some characteristic features of combinations containing elements from the other Groups:
The combinations include those of the type PA or AP, TA or AT. Since for the Vocalic Line and the Projective Group the arm moves in the same plane, i.e. forward and upwards, the combined positions are much more stable and there are fewer striking resolutions of unstable positions than is the case for combinations of the Main Consonantal Line and the Vocalic Line. Typically the combination of an element from the Vocalic Line with one from the Projective Group (as the initial letter) is to make the resultant position of the arm somewhat higher than for the consonant taken in isolation, the degree to which the arm is higher depending on how high the position associated with the particular vowel in isolation is. The reverse forms i.e. with the vowel first and the consonant second on the whole do not differ much from the primary forms. There are some unstable combinations of Projective Group with Vocalic Line, for example, THI THU UCH OP ET OT UT.
The combinations include those of the type SA WI, ES ASH. The primary combinations i.e. with the consonant first are mostly straightforward; the effect is to increase the degree of lateral movement involved to an extent which depends on the particular vowel combined. So, SA involves a greater movement than S alone but less than SE SI SO &c. For the secondary forms, the effect of combination with a vowel as first letter is in principle the same i.e. there is a greater degree of movement than for the consonant taken in isolation. AS involves a greater movement out from the side than the reflected form of S alone but less than ES IS &c.
The combinations include those of the type LA AL, RI, ON, ME. The special character of the Circular Group, involving as it does a rotatory movement which results from a complex working of a number of muscles to turn the arm on the shoulder or the hand on the arm, means that combinations of an element from the Group with an element from the Vocalic Group produce changes of position and movement very different from the initial positions associated with the Vocalic Element in isolation and from the small rotatory movement associated with an element of the Circular Group when the hand and arm are hanging in the initial neutral position (loose at the side of the body with the palm of the hand facing in towards the body). Nevertheless the resulting positions and movements for combination of the different elements in the Group with different vowels are systematically related to each other and a general description of the normal resultant of the combination can be given. For the primary form i.e. LA the hand and arm move up from the initial neutral position to reach a final position with the elbow bent and the hand held above the head. As vowels later in the Vocalic Line are used, the final position is progressively higher. The manner of formation of combinations where M or N is the initial letter is similar. However, a good number of the combinations are unstable, particularly those with R as the initial letter which tend to resolve into various systematic vigorous movements.
The general pattern of the results of reverse combinations i.e. of the form AL &c is broadly similar to that for primary combinations but the final positions are unstable and tend to resolve into various movements, particularly turning movements. Combinations with R as the second element all seem to involve turning and circling movements.
This completes the brief description of the manner in which the various groups of consonants combine with the principal vowels, either in the primary or reverse forms (CV or VC). The consonants can of course also combine with Long Vowels or with Diphthongs. No special differences arise as regards combinations with Long Vowels. As regards Diphthongs, it is to be noted that as their name indicates, these are not single but double sounds, midway between the single sound of the short vowels and the double sounds involved for example in the association of two syllables. They therefore do not correspond to a single firm position in the Vocalic Line; there is some element of movement and instability in the associated gestural element. Accordingly when they are combined with a consonant, they tend, in the same way as elements from the Projective, Lateral or Circular Group, to introduce an aspect of movement (though small) into the resulting gestural equivalent. Whilst it is sufficient to show the diphthongs as corresponding to positions in the Vocalic Line, for example, EI as between the positions for E and I, the special character of them has to be remembered in considering the effects of combining them with individual consonants.
The combination of 2 gestural elements drawn from the different Groups (in either the direct or reverse order) in some cases produces recognisable English words, though surprisingly few of the forms theoretically possible are in fact found. The following is not a complete list of these words but a selection of words, formed from the combination of elements from all the five different Groups, which have a comparatively sharp reference, a distinct meaning. For these it is possible to make some judgment on how far the gestural forms, constructed by the combination of the gestural elements as described, are compatible with the meaning of the words i.e. this is a first test of the validity of the hypothesis of phonological/semantic equivalence via the link established between the word and the meaning by the associated gesture. In addition to the two-element combinations, some single-element combinations are also considered formed by a vowel without a consonant; it will be noted that the examples are all of diphthongs.
SV SV/MC SV/PG SV/LG LV LV/MC LV/PG LV/CG SV CG MC/SV PG/SV LG/SV MC/LV PG/LV CG/LV A AM AT AS AA FAR ARM E EBB EDGE EE BE I IN IT IS II HE/THE EAT O ON OFF OF OO FORE-FOR ALL-OAR OR U UP UU~ YOU/TOO Table continued DPT DPT/MC DPT/LG DPT/PG DPT/CG DPT MC/DPT LG/DPT PG/DPT CG/DPT EI A THEY SAY/WAY AIM/RAY Al EYE BY/HIGH NIGH O~ GO TOW AO BOUGH/ NOW HOW-BOW
The grouping of the words is apparent in terms of the elements going to compose them and the Groups from which they are drawn.
SV - Short Vowel MC - Main Consonantal Line V - Long Vowel PG - Projective Group DPT - Diphthong LG - Lateral Group CG - Circular Group
The words contained in the table are considered in the order of the simplicity and directness of the relation between the meaning of the word and the equivalent gesture (as indicated in the system developed in this chapter). So:
A - the gesture is simply the position of the diphthong EI with the hand held up and forward, on a level with the mouth, with the index finger forward. Gesture indicates a single object or idea.
EYE - the gesture is the position and movement associated with the diphthong Al, that is the hand moves up from the A position towards the II position bringing it close to the eye. Gesture is a directly indicative one.
AT-The arm moves forward and slightly upward to position below T position (for which the arm and hand are stretched forward)0 The gesture is a simply indicative one
IT-the gesture is very similar to AT but the arm moves forward with a slight downward movement (from the higher initial I position) to the T position. The gesture is directly indicative of the object referred to
UP-Starting from the U position, for which the arm is held up and forward with the fingers just above the level of the top of the head, the arm and hand move upward and outward The gesture is simply indicative e.g. of a path going up a hill
EDGE-the position for E is directly above the position for J. The gesture for EDGE is that the arm moves slightly forward and then down towards the J position i.e it is a contour gesture which represents directly the shape of the thing it refers to.
OF-this is a grammatical element The gesture associated with it is that the arm moves from the O position (where the arm and hand are forward, hand nearly level with the forehead) down towards but not reaching the V position (which is below the A position) The relation between the meaning of the word and the gesture is not immediately apparent. The gesture seems to resolve into a short withdrawing movement and this may mean taking something from someone (?)
WAY-the hand and arm move from the position for W - which brings the arm and hand up across the body - back out to the side of the body via the position of EI (where the hand and arm are held up in front of the body with the index finger pointing), The gesture appears to be directly indicative i.e. pointing the way to be followed,
SAY-The hand and arm move up from the S position to the EI position (a steeper line than for WAY because S is more nearly below the EI position) and the hand moves forward a short way The hand is level with the mouth and the gesture appears to be a metaphorical one indicating words proceeding from the mouth
BY-The hand and arm move from the B position in to a position near the eye, as a result of the combination with Al. The gesture appears to indicate directly something near to the speaker
BOUGH-AO as a diphthong involves more movement forward/up and to the side of the arm (which starts at about the level of the forehead) than Al as a diphthong and the position is higher than for Al. The gesture for BOUGH (BAO) involves the arm moving out from the B position on a slightly curving line out through the AO position. The gesture appears to be a spatial, contour-gesture, resembling the shape of the bough of a tree.
BOW-When both arms are stretched out and upwards on the line indicated for BOUGH, the arms and body are then in a position which resolves easily into a bowing movement of the head and shoulders. The gesture is a direct action-gesture.
HIGH-The arm starts in the H position with the arm bent and the hand just above the top of the head; it combines with the upward and outward element in Al I so that the arm stretches upwards above the head in a gesture identical with the familiar one accompanying HI as a greeting and similar to that accompanying HELLO. The gesture is a directly indicative one for a high object of some kind such as a hill,
GO-the arm moves directly from the G position, arm at the side of the head with fingers level with the top of the head) forward to the TH~ position which is on virtually the same level as G but with the arm held forward. The gesture then is a simple forward level movement of the hand and arm and constitutes the gesture normally seen accompanying an emphatic order "Go!"
THEY-the arm moves forward from the TH~ position (arm held up with elbow bent, hand in front of the temple) to the EI position which is slightly lower down and further forward than the T$ position. The gesture is somewhat unstable and leads to short forward movements. The gesture seems to be a simply indicative one, pointing to a number of people.
HOW-the arm moves forward from the H position (with the arm bent and the hand just above the top of the head) out and forward to the AO position. The position reached is unstable; the arm is not held steady. This is a grammatical element and the relation between the meaning of the word and the gesture is not immediately apparent. The shaking may be symbolic of a state of vacillation or uncertainty.
EBB- the combination of the elements EB produces a reflected form of BE, that is a rather tense position with the bent arm (angle of about 90 degrees at the elbow) held forward and somewhat out from the side of the body, the hand about level with the eyes and forehead), This position is unstable and develops into forward movements of the hand and arm in a plane parallel to the centre line of the body but at the side of the body. The relation of the gesture to the meaning of the word EBB is not wholly certain - it could picture the gradual retreating movement of the tide. (It is perhaps salutary to consider how if one wished to indicate the outgoing tide by a single gesture, one would form such a gesture).
OFF- Reflected form of FO. Hand and arm move out to the side starting from the O position to the OF reflected position. This seems to be a straightforward action gesture for 'taking something off' or 'pushing something off and away'
FAR - AA is a higher position and more to the side than F (for which the fingers and hand are in front of the forehead). For FAA, the hand and arm move outward and upward from the F position up through the AA position and out to the side of the body. The gesture seems to be a simple indicative one for showing that something is far away.
FORE - The position for the long vowel OO is stretched up further above the head than the long vowel AA, and is correspondingly higher and more nearly vertically above the F position In the gesture FOO, the hand and arm move up, with the arm stretching, from the F position through the OO position and continue in a curved movement which carries the arm to a final position pointing straight forward and somewhat upward (a more stretched out position than T). The gesture is simply indicative, pointing to the front.
FOR - This is a grammatical element The relation between the gesture already described for FORE and the meaning of FOR is not immediately apparent. FOR may be essentially, as far as the gesture is concerned, a conjunction marking an expressive and forceful pause in speech.
BE - The long vowel II is related to a position where the hand and forearm are pointing nearly upwards above the shoulder and the upper arm is nearly horizontal, pointing forwards and level with the shoulder. The II position is much higher than the B position (which is much further in to the centre- line of the body). The gesture associated with BI I involves the hand and arm moving up and out from the B position through the II position, end mg with the arm stretched outwards and upwards from the side of the body with the elbow slightly bent. The relation between this gesture and the meaning of' the word BE is not apparent. (? What gesture is imaginable to represent the concept BE?)
THE - The hand and arm move almost vertically upwards from the TH position to the high and upward- pointing II position. The two positions sum into a fully-extended but tense upward pointing position of the arm which resolves itself by the extended arm moving forward and downward to point straight forward in a more deliberate but very similar gesture to that for A. The gesture, like A, is an indicative one but with more emphasis
HE - There is only a small difference between the position associated with TH~ as just described and the position associated with H (arm bent and the hand just above the top of the head) H combines with II in a gesture very similar to that resulting from the combination of TH and II just described. The arm moves up from the H position through the II position, stretches out fully upwards and then descends forward (in a similar way to that for THE), the only difference being that whilst for THE, the hand and arm are pointing, stretched straight forward, for HE, the hand and arm are stretched forward and out a little to the side because the starting point of the gesture, the H position, is nearer the centre-line than TH is and the movement from H up through II is not fully vertical but at an angle). The gesture then is simply indicative and refers to a person not immediately in front of the speaker but a little to one side
ALL - The position for the long vowel OO is with the hand and arm slightly further up and out to the side than for II (the immediately preceding long vowel); the hand and forearm are pointing up wards with the hand well above the level of the top of the head. The addition of the movement for L means that the hand attempts to make a small clockwise movement on the wrist but this is anatomically awkward in this position and resolves into a fairly large clockwise circling movement of the whole arm and hand above the head. The gesture appears to be a metaphorical one, the circling movement meaning 'all around' or 'all about'.
OAR - This is an emphasised form of the long vowel OO~. If held and stressed, OO is an unstable position (this is reflected in the movement for ALL) and resolves itself into a large forward circling movement. The gesture is an action-gesture referring directly to the movement of the arm in rowing an oar.
OR - This is an unstressed form of the long vowel OO. It represents a quick movement up to the position for OO already described. This is a grammatical element. Perhaps like FOR it represents a pause, though a less emphatic one, in speech as an alternative is presented but the relationship of the gesture and the meaning of the word is not certain.
ARM - The position of the long vowel AA is in the forward and upward line of movement of the arm of which the Vocalic Line as a whole consists. The position is higher than that for U but below those described for II and OO. The forearm is nearly vertical with the hand pointing up, the fingers at about the level of the top of the head The addition of M produces a clockwise turning movement of the hand and forearm but this is anatomically awkward in the position in which the hand and arm are for the vowel AA and the unstable position resolves itself by the forearm extending forwards with the hand supinated i.e. the arm is extended in front of the shoulder. This is a straightforward indicative or attention gesture indicating the arm itself.
YOU - The position for Y as given earlier is that the arm and hand are directed forward and upward (in the common plane of the Vocalic Line and the Projective Group) with the forearm pointing up at an angle of about 45 degrees and the hand about level with the forehead. The position for the long vowel UU~ is with the arm stretched out and pointing vertically upwards. The gesture for YOU follows a course very similar to that for THE already described. The hand and arm start in the Y position and move strongly up into the UU~ position with the arm, fully stretched, carrying on into a circling forward and downward movement ending up pointing straight forward in a vigorous and tense gesture. The gesture is simply indicative with arm and hand pointing strongly towards the person directly addressed. There is virtually no difference from the THE gesture (except that YOU is perhaps slightly more tense). The similarity is striking but hardly surprising given that the sound THE can equally be spelt THEE to mean exactly the same as YOU.
EAT - The position associated with the long vowel II has already been described several times above i.e. a high and upward pointing position of the hand and arm above the head. T, as an element in the Projective Group, is in the same plane as that of the Vocalic Line and is associated with a position where the arm is stretched out forwards from the shoulder and slightly upwards (hand about level with the shoulder). The gesture equivalent to IIT involves the hand and arm moving up to the II position stretching up further and more strongly and the circling forward into the T position but held with a great deal of tension. This rebounds into a sharp bending of the arm at the elbow bringing the hand directly back towards the face. The gesture associated with EAT is accordingly a straightforward action-gesture corresponding to the movement of the hand and arm bringing something towards the face to eat.
TOO - The positions both for T and for the long vowel UU~ have been given in the immediately preceding examples. The position for T is the arm stretched out forward from the shoulder and slightly upwards (hand about level with the shoulder). The position for UU is with the arm fully stretched out and pointing vertically upwards. The gesture for the combination TUU~ is a relatively straightforward intermediate position and movement between those for T and those for UU~. The arm is stretched forward and upward from the shoulder at an angle of about 45 degrees (that is intermediate between the positions of T and UU~); the arm is repeatedly bent at the elbow with the forearm moving back towards the UU position and then extending vigorously forward. The movement is an emphatic one. The relation between the gesture and the meaning of the word TOO is not altogether clear - perhaps TOO is simply an intensifying word represented by an intensified general gesture. The gesture is much more understandable if it is related to TO -a vigorous pointing movement,
NOW - The position and movement associated with the diphthong AO has already been described The position is in the plane of the Vocalic Line with the arm moving out from the O position, the hand stretched up and forward about level with the forehead. The forearm is directed upwards at an angle of rather more than 450 to the horizontal. The combination of NAO produces a gesture in which the arm swings up through the AO position finishing with a short upward stabbing movement, with the index finger pointing up The gesture appears to be metaphorical, the spatial movement and direction of pointing being interpreted as 'this point of time'.
NIGH - The value for the diphthong AII has already been given, i.e. a movement up from the A position to the II position, leaving the hand at the level of the eye. The effect of the N is to bend the position of the forearm further in towards the eye and the gesture conveys in a fairly straightforward way the idea of something near to the speaker.
AIM - The position for the diphthong EI is the hand held up and forward (between the E and I positions) on a level with the mouth with the index finger forward. The gesture to which AIM corresponds involves a half clockwise turn of the hand and forearm (the normal effect of M) producing an awkward position which is resolved by the arm stretching forward with the index finger pointing in effect an action-gesture.
RAY - The position for EI has just been given. The addition of R produces a gesture in which there is a larger turning movement of the arm than for AIM which is resolved in the arm being stretched strongly upwards and outwards The gesture is a contour-gesture representing, for example, a ray of sunlight.
TOW - The position of the arm for O~ is much the same as but slightly forward from that for O in which the hand is at the level of the mouth and cheek. The position for T is the arm stretched forward and slightly up (the hand level with the shoulder). The combination TO~ produces a gesture in which the arm makes a short forward stretching movement from the T position with the arm then being drawn back again. This is an action-gesture equivalent to the movement involved in towing.
AS - AZ involves a movement of the hand and arm to the side to make an angle of about 45 degrees to the vertical (a nearly unstable movement with a tendency to resolve into a short forward movement.) The relation between the gesture and the meaning of the word AS is not altogether clear. It may be to represent a comparison between two objects resting side by side which are indicated successively by the initial and final positions of the gesture.
IS - The arm moves out from the I position to the side ending with the hand and arm stretched out parallel with the ground. The relation between the gesture and the meaning of the word IS is not apparent (see the comment earlier on the gesture related to the word BE).
AM - Starting from the A position the arm is stretched out to the side and the movement rebounds, the elbow flexing so that the hand moves back to touch the chest. The relation of the gesture to the meaning is not wholly clear; note that the gesture resembles to some extent that for ME which also involves the arm being bent so that the hand touches the chest.
IN - starting from the I position, the arm turns outward on the elbow and then rebounds to move in to the centre-line of the body. The gesture appears to represent in a direct way movement in towards the person speaking.
ON - The associated gesture is similar to that for IN but the outward and inward movements are shorter. On the inward movement the hand turns to face palm downwards. The gesture appears to represent the placing of something on something else e.g. a lid on a pot, though the relation is not altogether clear.
This completes a first description of the manner of formation of two-element combinations of gestural elements, one of which is drawn from the Vocalic Line and the other from one of the Consonantal Groups, together with a first examination in a practical way of the relation between the gestures to which a number of short, common English words are equivalent (on the basis of the equivalences between speech sound elements and muscle movement elements given earlier in the Chapter) and the meaning of these words i.e the first test of the hypothesis of phonological/semantic equivalence presented. The 42 words considered included use of all the short and long vowels and most of the diphthongs; they also included all the consonants except C D SH CH and TH which, as it happens, do not form 2-element words of the simple concrete character required for the purposes of this first examination. On the whole the results of the illustrative examination of the relation between equivalent gesture and the meaning of the words seem to confirm the general correctness of the values given, in terms of associated muscle-movements and positions, to the different speech-sound elements.
The next step in the programme of exposition and verification of the hypothesis is to move on to a consideration of the formation of words containing 3 sound-elements (with the equivalent 3-element gestures related to them). The principal pattern of words considered is CVC, i.e. words consisting of a single syllable of which the first and final letters are consonants. This of course opens up a very large field, as compared with the restricted number of words which can be formed from 2 speech sound-elements. Each of the 27 consonantal elements can be followed by each of 15 vocalic elements with the word again completed by any of the 27 consonants - i.e. a theoretical total number of possible 3-element words of 10,935. If other patterns of 3-element monosyllabic words are added e.g. CCV and VCC, the total rises to 30,000 or so. Most of these combinations, of course, are not found in English and the problem reduces itself to selecting a manageable collection of simple words which can be used for further testing of the hypothesis presented in this Chapter.
The character of the difficulties in the combination of individual speech-elements in terms of the underlying muscle-patterns has been dealt with to some extent in the preceding section. In 2-element words, the gesture represents a compounding of the movement and position associated with each element. In a 3-element word, each letter has a relation both to the letter which precedes it, if any, and to the letter which follows it (if any). The resultant of the combination of any 2 elements in a 3-element word must (in terms of the underlying muscle-pattern specified) also be compatible with the 3rd element. In considering how the gestures equivalent to 3-element words are formed, the word can be considered either as 3 distinct elements taken separately in order, or as an opening 2-element combination followed by the 3rd element or as an opening 2-element combination followed by a second 2-element combination with which it must be compounded, or as a set of 3 elements which must be taken all together, giving each equal importance, to determine the total result in terms of a specific gesture. To illustrate this with a simple word, PAT; in arriving at the total gesture equivalent to this, one might:
(i) look up the equivalents of P A T in isolation and then present the gesture as these equivalents arranged in the order of the word;
(ii) look up the equivalent of the combination PA and then follow it by the equivalent of T in isolation;
(iii) look up the equivalent of PA and of AT and then seek to combine these;
(iv) assume that P A T is a total gesture to which all the elements contribute in parallel.
In some cases the fourth approach is the more appropriate one.
What else can be usefully said as a preliminary about the formation of gestures equivalent to 3-element words, as compared with the formation of 2-element gestures? Obviously the degree of complexity is increasing quite rapidly. A familiar physical analogy may be helpful in thinking about this. Gestures of the hand and arm are the expression of complex patternings of underlying muscle-states, varying degrees of contraction and relaxation of muscles and varying rates of change in the state of the muscles; the muscles may co-operate or act antagonistically to each other in various ways but the extent of their action is sharply limited by the anatomical constraints, i.e. the precise limits set by the relation of the bones through which the muscles bring about movement. The analogy which may be useful for this complex process is the movement of a billiard-ball on a billiard-table. The movement of a billiard-ball is a complex combination of direction, rate of travel, and degree of self-rotation, all within the rigid limits set by the form of the billiard-table itself The course which the billiard-ball follows in a particular instance is theoretically analysable in terms of the force of the blow, the degree of sideways or forward rotation imparted to it, the angle at which the ball strikes the side of the table, the point at which the ball strikes the side in terms of the distance from the next side towards which the ball travels and so on. The actual course and duration of the movement followed by the billiard-ball is the result of the highly complex compounding of many different elements. In a sense the path followed by the ball is the gesture it makes. The path of the hand and arm moving in a specific gesture are the result of an even more complex compounding of different underlying elements of muscle-state and muscle-change. But though the reasons for the specific motion of the billiard-ball or of the hand and arm in a gesture are complex, the total movement or gesture may be quite simply describable i.e. the ball struck the side of the table half way down, bounced off the far end and came to rest near the Red spot. And correspondingly for a gesture.
In the remainder of this chapter descriptions are given of the path followed by increasingly complex gestures, which are compatible with the elements of the words to which the gestures relate - but it is not practicable at present to justify the structure of the gesture in terms of the underlying muscle-patterning - though it is theoretically possible to do so, in the same way as the movement of a billiard-ball is theoretically analysable
The following 30 3-element words of the form CVC have been selected to illustrate the way in which gestures equivalent to some simple monosyllabic words are formed and the relation between the gesture specified by the speech-sound elements and the meaning of the word. The object has been to gather a group which is not too large and which includes use in 3-element words of consonants from all the different Groups and all the Groups of Vowels (Short, Long and Diphthongs) in the Vocalic Line. The words chosen can be arranged in a table as follows.
HAT - The hand and arm start in the H position (with the hand held, with bent elbow over the top of the head) move to the intermediate position between H and A (i.e. the hand and arm move to the side into the plane of the Vocalic Line, with the hand still at much the same level), the arm extends for ward towards the T position (for which the arm is stretched forward from the shoulder) and then rebounds to the H position with the hand over the head. The gesture is a very straightforward picturing of the action of taking off a hat and putting it on again, an action-gesture. The third element of movement described above corresponds to the gesture for AT given in the previous section.
THAT - The hand and arm start from the TH~ position (arm held up with the elbow bent hand in front of the temple) and move forward to the same position as already given for AT. The only difference from AT is that the arm starts further back and the movement is therefore stronger and more emphatic. The gesture is a simple indicative or demonstrative one.
HIT - The arm and hand move from the high position for H above the head down through the I position to the T position with the arm stretched forward. The movements from H to I and from H to T sum to give a strong forward and downward movement. This is a simple action-gesture representing the act of hitting something.
CUT - The gesture is very similar to a less vigorous and less extended form of the gesture for HIT. The arm moves from the C position with the hand about level with the neck up to the U position and then forward and down to the T position with the arm stretched forward. The gesture again is an action gesture representing the act of cutting something.
BEAT - The pattern of the gesture is similar to that for HIT and CUT. The hand and arm start from the B position which is lower than C or H (hand at about the level of the breast) move up in an ex tended movement to the high II position (hand and forearm nearly vertically upwards above the shoulder) and then move down in a strong (almost ballistic) movement to the T position with the arm stretched forward. This is a more forceful gesture than HIT or CUT and directly represents the act of beating someone or something.
TAKE - The arm stretches forward and somewhat up from the T position to a position somewhat forward of the position of the arm for EI (which is between those for E and I but slightly more stretched forward, involving as a diphthong a small forward movement itself) and then bends at the elbow, moving back towards the body to a position close to C in isolation (though slightly higher with the hand about level with the chin). It is to be noted that the C or K sound in TAKE is followed by a small sub-vowel sound so that the C or K has much the same value as it would have if it began a separate syllable, an initial and not final value. The gesture is a direct action-gesture representing the act of taking something.
PAT - The arm starts from the P position (arm stretched forward slightly above the level for E) moves up to the position for AT as already described (i.e. a short raising of the hand and arm) and falls down again to a position below P and near to A. The gesture is an action-gesture directly representing the act of patting a person or an animal.
PIT - The arm starts from the P position, moves up to the I position (which is higher than P and T but in the same plane), moves forward and down through the T position with the arm stretching to end pointing down towards the ground at an angle of about 45 degrees. The gesture appears to be indicative, pointing down to the ground.
TOP - The hand moves up from the T position (with the arm stretched forward) As indicated in the vocabulary, the position corresponding to OP is higher than that for P in isolation, slightly lower and more stretched out than for O in isolation). The hand and arm move up through the OP position and end slightly higher with the hand pointing upwards. The gesture is a simply indicative one, pointing to the top of a high object. The position of the hand and arm is very similar to that already given for UP.
JET - starting from the J position, hand level with the lower chest, arm forward with elbow bent, hand moves the short distance vertically up to the E position (for the reverse movement see EDGE earlier described) and then stretches forward and upward a little more into an extended form of the T position. This is a contour-gesture representing the line of, for example, a jet of water.
TOOTH- The gesture associated with TOO or TO was given earlier, the arm stretched vigorously forward from the shoulder, unbending strongly at the elbow to point at something. The addition of TH brings the hand back through the TH position to touch the teeth.
TOUCH- The hand and arm move up from the T position to a position slightly below the U position and then move forward on a level line, with the arm extending at the elbow somewhat to produce this; the forward movement and the final degree of bending is contributed by the projective movement of CH. The gesture is an action-gesture representing the act of touching something.
LEDGE - The gesture already given for EDGE (a contour-gesture representing the shape of the edge of something) combines with L which turns the hand anti-clockwise with the fingers pointing down, and introduces a sideways movement of the hand and arm. Though difficult to describe, the gesture again is a contour-gesture representing the shape of a ledge.
CHIN - The arm moves up from the CH position, retaining the same degree of flexing of the elbow, to the I position (hand about level with the chin) and then, as an effect of N, the hand and forearm turn outwards (into an awkward position anatomically), the movement rebounds with the forearm being bent in towards the body ending with the tips of the fingers touching the chin This is a straightforward indicative-gesture (later seen to be an identical pattern to the gestures associated with CHEST, CHEEK, CHAP, CHOPS, &c) A similar movement is associated with IN taken separately as shown in the earlier list.
POUR - The R in words like this is doubtfully consonantal, at any rate in Southern English speech. The gesture associated with the word is constituted by the arm and hand moving up from the P position (stretched forward) towards the OO position which is a high position above the head. The position reached is an unstable one, the hand and arm turned outwards (clockwise) so that the total movement consists of a curve starting from P, moving upwards and ending out to the side of the body. The relation between the gesture and the meaning of the word POUR is not altogether clear. It appears to be a not very well-defined action gesture. (See also OAR)
NIGHT- The gesture associated with NIGH taken separately has been given earlier. For NIGHT the hand and arm move to the position given for NIGH (with the hand and forearm close to the eye) and then stretch out sideways with the elbow bent to the same extent as for T in the normal position. The position is somewhat unstable, with a small circling movement of the hand in a horizontal plane developing. The relation between the gesture and the meaning of the word NIGHT is not apparent (there appears to be some vocal element also involved).
COME - The gesture associated with CU has already been (as part of the description of CUT) - the arm moves from the C position (with the hand about level with the neck) up to the U position (with the fingers just above the level of the top of the head), the hand and forearm turned outwards, as a normal consequence of M; the position is an awkward one which resolves by the arm unbending at the elbow, extending outwards to the side and then rebounding to bring the hand and arm sharply back towards the side of the head, close to the original position for CU as an isolated combination. Though the formation of the gesture is somewhat involved, the result is a simple beckoning gesture, normally used for indicating to some one that they should come towards the speaker.
FALL - The gesture corresponding to FOO has been given earlier for FORE: the hand and arm move upward through the high OO position above the head and continue in a curved movement which carries the arm to a position pointing straight forward and somewhat upward (a more stretched out position than T). The effect of the addition of L, an element in the Circular Group, is that the arm and hand, stretched in the position of FORE, turn outwards, clockwise, with the palm facing up; this is an anatomically awkward position and converts into a rapid downward dropping movement of the whole arm (still extended). This is an action or contour-gesture representing the trajectory followed by something falling.
WAG - The arm (as for WAY earlier described) moves across the body, swings back and up through the position for A (somewhat higher than W about level with the abdomen) to the position for the reflected form of G (that is G appearing as a final consonant), the lateral movement contributed by W reappearing as a side to side movement of the forearm bending on the elbow, with the arm held in the reflected G position (with the arm pointing up, the arm held out to the side of the body, hand level with the face). The result, despite the complicated route followed for the formation of the gesture, is a straightforward action gesture, representing a wagging movement.
YES - For this, the arm-gesture involves the arm moving forward from the Y position (forearm stretched forward at angle of 45 degrees to horizontal) through the E position (which is slightly lower than Y) and outwards to the side as a result of the normal effect of S as a member of the Lateral Group. The movement out is quite a vigorous (emphatic) one, the final position being very similar to that given earlier for BOUGH and BOW. Like BOW, if both arms are extended sideways in the YES position, this is naturally accompanied by a forward bending or nodding of the head on the neck, the normal gesture for assent.
WAVE - The gesture for WAY (WEI) was given in the earlier section. The hand and arm move up and across the body to the side (starting from the W position) ending stretched out pointing up and out from the side of the body. The effect of the addition of V is to make the arm drop down vertically to a position similar to that for V in isolation with a tendency to move back to the higher position. The gesture is accordingly a straightforward action-gesture representing the act of waving.
SHIN - The arm moves up to a position somewhat to the side from the normal I position, hand at about the level of the chin. The addition of N produces an outward (clockwise) turning movement of the hand and arm and, rather similar to the effect of L in FALL, the position resolves into a downward movement of the hand and arm, with the arm slightly bent and the hand pointing down. This appears to be an indicative gesture simply pointing to the lower leg or shin.
SAME - The gesture associated with AIM (ElM) was given earlier: the hand and arm initially in the EI position turned and the movement resolved into a forward-pointing movement. The gesture associated with SAY was also given which involved the hand moving forward a short way at the level of the mouth. For SAME the gesture starts as for SAY, the addition of M causes the forearm to turn on the elbow outwards in a smooth curve which rebounds into a reflected position with the fingers touching the chest. Made with one arm, the relation of the gesture to the meaning is not very clear. Made with two arms, the gesture involves both hands being placed flat together in front of the chest and the meaning is clear.
WAS - The hand and arm move up from the W position across the body to the side through the O position and carry on out with the arm extending fully, ending pointing somewhat forward from the shoulder, somewhat upward as well as sideways (angle of the arm to the horizontal 20 degrees or so); the gesture involves a return movement with the elbow bent sharply and the hand brought back towards the point of the shoulder. The relation of the gesture to the meaning of the word is not apparent. The position is similar to that for BE and IS i.e. slightly lower than for IS which in turn is slightly below that for BE.
ROLL - The gesture associated with RO~ (ROW) is very similar to that for OAR already given i.e. large circling movements of the arm clearly re presenting the action of rowing. The direction of the circling movement for ROW is midway between a forward and a sideways direction. The effect of the addition of L to RO~ is to shift the direction of the circling movement on to a directly forward line and to produce a larger and more deliberate circling. The gesture clearly pictures a rolling movement.
MAN - AN as a combination by itself produces a position of the arm very close to that for A (El), the hand at about the level of the chin, the arm bent at the elbow (as for E) directed not straight forward but slightly out to the side, the fingers not quite pointing upwards. The effect of M is to cause the arm to extend a little further on the same line, slightly further out from the side of the body but otherwise to produce very little perceptible change in the position of the hand, fingers or arm. The relation of the gesture to the meaning of the word is not apparent (the gesture may be essentially a finger and not an arm gesture.)
HEAD - The hand and arm starting from the H position above the head move down through the E position and the movement then reverses bringing the hand back to touch the head. The explanation appears to be that HE is very nearly the reverse and reflected movement to that of ED (which involves the arm moving up and out from E to the reflected D position.) The two movements compound.
GOAD - The gesture associated with GO was described earlier: the hand and arm move from a position over the shoulder outwards in a gesture clearly related to GO~. The combination O~D in isolation is associated with a gesture in which the arm moves up and out from the O~ position through the O~D position which is a reflected form of DO~. The combination of GO~ and O~D adds together the two sub-gestures described to produce a smoother and longer outward and upward movement. This can be readily interpreted as an action-gesture representing the use of a goad.
BIG - The arm starting from the B position moves up and out through the I position (which is somewhat higher than B) to the reflected position of G (which is out to the side of the body with the hand level with the top of the head) stretching up and out some way beyond this. The relation of the gesture to the meaning of the word is more clearly seen if both arms are used, the gesture then being similar to that used by anglers to say that they have caught a big fish, with both arms stretching upward and out to the sides. This is a spatial or contour gesture.
BAD - The position associated with BA is slightly higher than for B alone, the fingers level with the cheekbone and lust outside the line of the face, with the forearm at an angle of more than 45 degrees from the horizontal. The position for AD is the mirror-image of this, the arm at the same angle but inclined away from the body and the hand at the same level. The result of the combination of these two positions BA and AD is to produce a position which is not sustainable. The arm extends fully and moves down on the line bisecting the angle between the positions of BA and AD, i.e. vertically downwards. The gesture is thus a downward slashing movement. The relation of the gesture to the meaning of the word is not immediately obvious but the gesture closely resembles that used by someone saying emphatically "Bad dog" and hitting downwards at the dog.
It may be useful at this point to take stock of the position reached in the presentation and verification of the theory of phonological/semantic equivalence in terms of the equivalence between speech-sound combinations and gestural -element combinations. The manner in which individual speech-sounds correspond to individual gestural-elements has been set out; the basis on which 2 elements can be combined into related words and gestures has been proposed; there has been a preliminary examination of the gestural equivalents of a selection of simple 2-element words; the manner of combination of 3-elements has been considered and an examination made of a second selection of 3-element words. The provisional view reached is that the gestural equivalences for individual speech-sounds seem plausible in terms of the relation observed between the associated gesture and the meanings of the individual words examined (though there are a few words where the basis of the gesture-meaning relation is not understood for the present). Overall a good degree of plausibility has thus been established for the theory presented but essentially conviction of the correctness of the theory depends on the accumulation of evidence and the observation of consistent inter-relationships of words and equivalent gestures. One approach would be to extend, almost indefinitely, the presentation of individual words and the gestures which, on the basis of the theory, are associated with them - but this would be very tedious. Another approach is to use what might be called a matrix technique, using matrix in the sense of a rectangular and orderly display of interrelated values. Inserted below is such a matrix of simple words. The principle on which it is constructed is that every word in the matrix is related to every word adjacent to it, above or below or on either side, by one or other of six types of resemblance, namely:
(i) the first two letters of the adjacent word are the same; (ii) the second two letters of the adjacent word are the same; (iii) the first and third letters are the same; (iv) the second word is a direct reversal of the first word; (v) in a few cases, two letters are the same but in reverse order; (vi) in a very few cases, the initial letter is the same and the final letter of the second word belongs to the same Group as the final letter of the first word and is next to it in the order of that Group e.g. TURN/TAME - or the final letter is the same but the initial letter is similarly related to the initial letter of the first word.
A few words are repeated in the matrix to maintain its continuity and there are one or two discontinuities due to lack of ingenuity in the compiling of the matrix (these are marked by a thick dividing line).
A large (perhaps virtually unlimited) number of similar matrixes could be constructed using only 3-element words and these could interlock with this matrix in many ways. More complex matrixes could, of course, be constructed using longer words (a few 2-element words are used in this matrix).
The object of the matrix is to allow very extensive cross-checking of the accuracy of the gestural values placed on individual sound-elements in the scheme presented in this chapter. Since each word in the matrix (other than those on the edge of the array) is normally linked to 4 adjacent words by the defined resemblances set out above, if there is any flaw in the set of gestural values placed on individual sound-elements, this should readily become apparent when the gestures associated with each group of 5 inter-related words are examined. Beyond this, each of the four adjacent words to a chosen word is closely related itself to the four words adjacent to it and in the end every word in the matrix can be related to every other word in the matrix (subject to the one or two discontinuities referred to above) by an almost infinite variety of step-by-step links. An illustration of the use of the matrix in this way is given below.
The matrix is as follows: _
SAKE ACHE TAKE TACK TUCK TUB TOUCH !TOME SHAKE MAKE BAKE BACK BUCK BUTT CUT COMB WAKE CAKE RAKE RACK RUCK RUB CUB COME WICK KICK RICK ROCK WRECK ROOK COOK COOL WIN KIN NICK KNOCK NECK NOOK TOOK LOOK WHIP KIP PICK POCK PECK TOQUE TICK LICK WHAP CAP PACK POKE PUCK TUCK TOCK LOCK WHACK PACK CAP COPE CUP CUT COT LOT WEAK KEEP COOP CAPE KIP KIT KITE LIGHT WEEP REAP RAP RAPE RIP WRIT RIGHT MIGHT SEEP NEAP NAP NAPE NIP KNIT NIGHT TIME SAP NAP TAP TAPE TIP TIN TINE TERM TAP PAN PAT PATE PIT PIN PINE TURN PET PEN PET PUT PUTT PUN PANE TAME POT TOP POUT PART PORT PAWN PAIN MAIN
An illustration of the use of the matrix can be given by taking the word PAT, the associated gesture for which has been given in a previous section. PAT appears once in the Matrix and is adjacent to TAP PAN PET and PATE. As already indicated, the gesture associated with PAT is essentially a short downward patting movement resulting from an upward movement from P towards the element immediately above it in the Projective Group T with the locus and range of the movement being determined by the relation between the A position, very close to T, and the P and T positions. TAP is a similar but shorter and sharper movement starting from the T position and movement downward and forward. PET is a movement similar to PAT starting from the P position and moving further up (because the E position is higher than the A position) and reversing like PAT into a downward petting action, rather slower than the action for PAT or TAP. PATE involves the diphthong EI in place of the short vowel A; EI is a higher position than A or E and as a diphthong involves, besides the position, a short forward movement as already described, The forward movement of EI sums with the forward movements of P and T with the result that the arm is stretched forward beyond the T position and rebounds with a bending of the elbow which brings the hand back, touching the head, in a directly indicative gesture (very similar in structure to those earlier described for EAT, CHIN, TOOTH). PAN introduces an element from the Circular Group; the arm in the PA position turns outwards (clockwise) into an anatomically awkward position, the turning movement reverses and brings the hand across the body, turning to face downwards in a movement very similar to that described earlier for ON. The concept associated with the word PAN is not altogether a clear one but the gesture appears to represent moving something from the side and placing it on something.
This examination has not revealed any inconsistency in the values placed on the elements appearing in the words selected. However, one could go on similarly to examine the words adjacent to any one of the four words (besides PAT) considered; so to check the interpretation of PATE, one can look at TAPE, PIT and PUT, or for PET, one can look at PEN POUT and PUT and so on.
It may be useful to insert at this point, to help in using the matrix for cross-checking the values in the formation of gestures attached to elements from the different Groups, the following rough diagram which shows the height-levels (against the levels of the body) of the positions of elements in Groups where height is one component (along with direction, flexion, or movement) in the specification of the particular gestural element. This is intended as a kind of mnemonic device. For the Main Consonantal Line and the Vocalic Line, the height of the arm and hand are essential features and are directly comparable (even though the direction of the arm is different between the two Groups). For the Projective and Lateral Groups, the height-levels are of a somewhat different character because the essential feature of these two Groups is a certain degree of movement rather than static position; in the case of these two Groups whilst the levels at which the letters/elements in the Groups are placed approximate to the static levels of the other Groups, the words included as mnemonic refer to the point on the body to which elements of these two Groups relate when they are used as part of indicative-gestures.
_________________________________________________________ _____ Body Reference Other _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ MC PG VL LG _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ UU~ NOON OO II PEAK EE AA H - HEAD HILL G TH~ U UP Iu EAR Y F - FACE O TOP O~ - NOSE SLOPE TH - TOOTH AO - MOUTH D - (DENT) C - NECK T I - CHIN EI PLAIN E - CHEST B -BREAST P - LIP A - ABDOMEN FLAT LAND J - JAW Z - (ZONE) CH -CHEST X V - VENTRE) W - WAIST VALLEY SH S - SIDE ABYSS ______________________________________________________________ ____
Before considering the formation of dissyllabic words, it is necessary to complete the account of basic speech-sound/gestural elements by setting out the elements associated with consonantal clusters such as ST, SP &c. There is also a considerable number of these playing an important part in the formation of English words medially and finally (distinguishing simple collocation of consonants at the junction of two distinct syllables). There are some half a dozen 3-letter clusters and 70 to 80 2-letter clusters. A good number of them are of no great importance and it would be burdensome to describe them. Below are brief descriptions of some of the more important or interesting clusters:
S followed by Projective Group
SP - (as in SPIT) The same position and movement as P alone but a more vigorous forward movement
ST - (as in STIFF) the same position as T but the arm stretched forward more vigorously and stiffly
S followed by Circular Group:
SL - (as in SLIDE) resolves into fiat forward movement of the hand at the level of the face. This is a composition of the low movement associated with S and the high position and movement associated with L used in combination.
SM - (as in SMEAR) similar movement to SL with fingers pressed together facing downwards, at the level of the mouth
SN - (as in SNEER) similar movement forward and back to SL and SM, in a line forward a little higher than that for SM
S followed by Lateral Group:
SW - (as in SWAY) The movements to the side and up of S and W add together and produce a large movement initially across the body and then swinging back.
BL - (as in BLOW) Starting from B position, the hand and arm turn outwards as the effect of L (i.e. L functions with the value it has as a final letter given earlier in this Chapter) and the arm moves forward and out from the B position
CL - (as in CLUTCH) similar movement to BL, starting from C position the hand and arm turn outwards and move forward
FL - (as in FLOW) starting from F position, the arm cannot turn far clockwise and reverses the turning movement, moves forward and slightly outward and then draws back on a level line - a movement similar to that given above for SL at about the level of the mouth
GL - (as in GLIDE) a similar movement to FL, i.e. a level forward and outward movement from the G position, with the hand returning facing down at about the level of the eyes
PL - (as in PLACE) Hand and arm initially in the P position, hand and forearm turn outwards as effect of L, hand then moves in towards the body to reach position with same degree of flexion for P initially i.e. a fairly short inward pulling movement
CW - (as in QUICK) Outward movement from C position which reverses suddenly
PR - (as in PRESS) The hand and arm turn out from the P position but cannot turn far for anatomical reasons and the movement is converted into tension of the hand and arm with a short inward movement towards the body
R - (as in TREAD) Very similar to PR, the movement is very tense for the same reason and the hand is brought somewhat further back towards the body from the T position
THR - (as in THROW) An even more tense position at the level of TH with the hand brought towards the shoulder, elbow almost fully bent, hand at about the level of the cheek
SHR - (as in SHRED) A movement similar to SH alone but more forceful
BR - (as in BREAK) Arm turns, tensely, on the elbow, out from the B position describing the arc of a circle
CR - (as in CRACK) Similar movement to BR, starting from C position but higher, forearm turning in a shorter outward arc than for BR
DR - (as in DRAG) Arm starts from D position but in this position cannot rotate far clockwise, and the tense position resolves into a strong movement drawing the hand, turned fingers upwards, back towards the face
FR - (as in FRAGMENT) similar movement to CR starting at the level of F but again a shorter outward turning arc, and followed as for DR but hand being brought back short distance towards the face
GR - (as in GRIP) starting from G position, the hand and forearm can turn only a little way clockwise and outward, resolves, rather like PR, into tension of the hand, tightly pressed together.
These are important groupings which contribute very distinctive features to words in which they are found. It will be noted that most of them involve the compounding of rotational movement due to the Circular Group with forward movement (in the Projective Group) or a flexed inward turned position of the arm (in the Main Consonantal Line). The general effect of combinations with R as the second letter (i.e. calling for a 180 degree outward turn of the forearm) is to increase the force of the movement and the tension in the muscles. The effect of combinations with L as the second letter or M and N is to produce flat forward gliding or sliding movements.
3-element Consonantal Clusters
SPL - (as in SPLIT) The addition of L to the tense forward position for SP releases the tension by turning the arm outwards and the arm moves out to the side at the level of P
SCW - (as in SQUASH) A similar movement to CW as described i.e. a level outward movement from C position but more vigorous than for CW without S
SCR - (as in SCRAPE) A similar movement to SCW but arm does not move out so far and the return movement towards the face is stronger and more tense (i.e. the normal effect of R in the secondary position)
SPR - (as in SPREAD) An outward turning movement from SP position spreading the arms apart
STR - (as in STRETCH) The effect of the addition of R is to increase even more the stiffly stretched forward position of the hand and arm described already for ST
Dissyllabic words are formed by combining monosyllables. The monosyllables combined may, in English, be meaningful words in their own right or forms which cannot exist separately. Given that, on the theory presented, there is associated with each monosyllable, whether meaningful or not, a specified gesture, the question is what the product in terms of the total gesture equivalent to a dissyllabic word is. The formation of disyllables does not in itself introduce any new letter groupings; the consonantal clusters just described may appear in the middle of a word, joining two syllables, as well as at the end or the beginning (depending on the individual cluster). In the middle of a dissyllabic word, a cluster or a single consonant may act not only as the final element of the first syllable but as the first element of the second syllable, and this has to be taken into account in considering the equivalent gesture. Essentially, the distinction between a dissyllabic word and the two separate monosyllables of which it is composed is simply a question of timing, the degree of pause between the two monosyllables. If the pause is very small, then the two syllables become one word. If the pause is longer, then the monosyllables do not coalesce and in the same way the gestures associated with them remain separate and do not compound into a single larger gesture. In fact, there is no very sharp distinction between the pattern of the dissyllabic word on the one hand and the appearance of two adjacent monosyllabic words on the other. There is a gradient one can observe from the single-syllable word (such as TAKE) which comes close to having a second syllable as a result of the continuation of the sound of K (almost like CU in CUT), on through a succession of syllable pairs such as HOT DAY, HOTFOOT, HOTEL, HUSTLE, HOTTER, HOSTILE Many phrases normally written as two separate words are in reality pronounced as though they were a dissyllabic word e.g. AT ALL, AT HOME. In such phrases, and in di-syllabic words, there is an overall patterning of the stress which constitutes the unity of the word or phrase.
Given that there is no radical difference between the monosyllabic word and the dissyllabic word, there is no need to treat the formation of disyllables and the associated gesture at any great length but it may be useful to consider two categories of disyllables:
(1) those formed by the addition of widely used morphemic elements such as RE ER ING UN LE EN TION. It is to be noted that these involve essentially addition of an element drawn from the Circular Group i.e. the effect of introducing a rotatory movement on the otherwise established pattern of gesture associated with a given monosyllable;
(2) those formed by combining two monosyllables previously analysed in this chapter or by modification of such a monosyllable in a straightforward way
A large number of words are formed by the addition of a Circular Group element. So with the addition of ER or R, there are WAVER, PATTER, LEDGER, HITTER, OFFER which, in terms of sound, are extended from WAVE PAT LEDGE HIT OFF. The effect of the addition of R can be quite simply stated - it introduces into the gesture equivalent to the monosyllable an aspect of repetition or reversal (just as, obviously, RE does at the beginning of words) How it achieves this in terms of muscle-function is not apparent except that presumably the energy of rotation, which in the case of R as already noted involves a marked reverse as well as forward turning movement, is transferred to the particular gesture involved. WAVER is thus a repeated WAVE, PATTER a repeated PAT, and HITTER a repeated hitting gesture. OFFER (which it would not occur to the etymologist to analyse in this way) represents repetition of the gesture already described for OFF, that is the hand moving out from the O position to the OF position; i.e. the gesture now becomes that of repeatedly presenting something to someone. LEDGER is perhaps even more interesting. As earlier described the gesture associated with LEDGE combines the contour associated with EDGE and a sideways movement produced by the addition of L. The effect of the further addition of R is to cause repetition of the sideways movement and the total effect is plausibly like that of someone writing in a ledger (the etymologists do of course directly connect LEDGE and LEDGER).
A few more examples of the addition of an element from the Circular Group are WAGGLE TACKLE TOPPLE. The effect of the addition of L to WAG is to convert it into a distinctly repetitive movement. TACK is a short inward movement of the hand from the T position; the L makes it repetitive and the reference of the gesture, though not very clear, seems to be to coiling a rope or something of the kind. TOPPLE is an example of a final L not causing repetition but having a distinct effect on the shape of the gesture. TOP, as already described, is a position resulting from the hand moving up from the T position to the 0 position, ending pointing upwards; the addition of L cannot bring about an outward turning position of the forearm (which is anatomically awkward) and the instability resolves itself by the arm extending, and moving downwards, with the arm turning on the shoulder, ending with the hand pointing to the ground. The formation of the gesture is very similar to that given for FALL, where L has a similar effect. Two examples of the combination into a disyllable of monosyllables which exist in their own right and for which the associated gesture has earlier been described: ATTACK UNITE ATTACK is a simple combination. The gesture for AT involves the hand stretching forward in the T position to indicate where something is; the gesture for TACK is a short inward movement of the hand and arm from the T position as already described. The addition of these in ATTACK produces a gesture which moves from the AT position in to the TACK position and then out again vigorously, as in a signal for attack. UNITE is rather more curious. The sound of the two syllables has been associated earlier with specific gestures for YOU and NIGHT. YOU involved a forward stretching of the arm to point vigorously towards another person, NIGHT involved a rather obscure gesture with the arm stretched out to the side above the level of the shoulder (a slightly unstable position with an associated small circling movement of the hand in a horizontal plane). The effect of the combination of these two gestures is that with both arms stretched forward in the YOU position, they swing out to the sides into the position for NIGHT and then move back again through the YOU position but going beyond it so that they meet in front of the centre-line of the body with the palms pressed together. The relation between the gesture and the meaning of the word UNITE is fairly clear.
Similarly, the gesture for AWAY is formed quite simply from the separate gestures for A and WAY. A involved the arm simply in the position for the diphthong El; WAY involved a gesture with the arm pointing out to the side and slightly upward as in indicating the way someone should follow. AWAY has a gesture associated with it in which the arm and hand move sharply from the position for the word A to the position for the word WAY, exactly the gesture frequently seen when someone says "GO AWAY".
Finally, a brief comment on the strange properties of the morpheme UN. As an isolated 2-element combination of speech-sounds UN has associated with it an extremely complicated pattern of gesture which it is virtually impossible to describe with any precision, a sort of rapid movement of the hand and arm from above the head to point downwards, with a continuous clockwise and anti-clockwise rotation of the arm As the morpheme used at the beginning of a word, UN has the equally curious effect of bringing about a direct reversal of the pattern of the gesture. It is hard to find visually clear examples but take the words STICK and UNSTICK. STICK is an intensified form of TICK; TICK involves a small forward movement of the hand in the T position with an equally small backward movement, STICK involves a stronger forward movement with little backward movement. The addition of UN results in a very small movement forward of the hand and arm and a sharp, strong and longer backward movement, which clearly can be related to the action of unsticking something. It appears possible to apply UN to the same effect to almost any word and the manner in which it brings about the reversal of associated gestures is far from clear.
A natural comment which may occur to the reader who has followed what has been said so far in this Chapter is to say that, however adequately or inadequately the theory of gestural equivalence presented may work for relatively simple words, that is words relating to familiar actions and objects, there has been little said about the large class of words where the meaning is abstract or in any case far more complex. A criticism of the words given as examples so far could be that most of them are simple words, in form and meaning, for which it is possible to conceive readily of equivalent fairly simple gestures. Now obviously, in the step by step approach of this Chapter, it would have been confusing to introduce at an early stage words of complex form or complex reference; this would have obscured the main lines of the theory which is being presented. But now that the exposition has been virtually completed, the problem of complex resemblance, the relation between words of complex meaning and putatively complex associated gestures, has to be tackled,
The contention is nevertheless that even for the most complex words, there are inevitably precisely specified associated gestures, however complex these gestures may be i.e. the equivalence between combination of speech-sounds and combination of gestural elements is maintained. This is because the theory is not that the gesture gives rise to the word directly nor even that the word itself gives rise to the gesture directly nor even that the perceived object gives rise to both the word and the gesture, but that all three, that is the word, the form of the gesture and the structure of the individual percept, derive from a single pattern of brain function which selects, in parallel, the modifications in the state of the muscular system, of the articulatory system and the perceptual system. So Paget's so-called tongue-gesture (and what others have called the gesture of the articulatory apparatus) does not produce the hand and arm gesture nor is it produced by the hand and arm gesture but it takes place simultaneously with the overt form of gesture (as Darwin perceived in remarking on the way in which children learning to write may move their tongues about matching their movements in writing). The conclusion is therefore that whether or not the object or action referred to by a word can be clearly pictured, whether or not a gesture to accompany it can plausibly be imagined, the brain-patterning involved in the comprehension and use of a complex word will be accompanied by a parallel patterning of the muscular system, expressible as an overt gesture. It makes sense therefore to examine what gestures may in fact accompany complex ideas.
Discussion earlier has shown that very complex gestures may be associated even with words which are very simple in form or with morphemic elements such as UN. The difficulties of tackling the degree of complexity, which escalates rapidly, are potentially much greater for more abstract words (the long philosophical discussion of the meaning of many of them shows that it is very difficult even to arrive at a clear expression of their content conceptually). The problem is to find some practical approach which will throw light on the word/gesture relationships considered. There are two possibilities:
(1) to look at a group of high-level abstract words which may have a metaphorical reference e.g. GRASP, UNDERSTAND, REMEMBER, MEDITATE, REFLECT, REASON, THINK, KNOW
(2) to start at the other end with some words which are complex in form and meaning for which it is impossible to conceive ab initio of any appropriate gestural equivalents and to examine what gestures, on the basis of the gestural equivalences for single elements already given, appear in fact to be associated with them.
The following table sets out the apparently associated gestures for the words in the first category above. Subsequently, it contains comment on the gestures apparently associated with words in category (2) above - the words chosen being SPIRITUAL ELEVATED SPONTANEOUS SPECULATION SEPARATE.
GRASP- Direct transfer of word describing physical action to refer to mental operation. The gesture for GRASP used to refer to grasping an idea is the same as the action-gesture associated with the word GRASP in normal use. Hand and arm start from G position, turn clockwise as an effect of R, move up to AA position with hand pointing up over the head, palm forward, stretch out to the side as an effect of S and move forward and down, tensely, into the P position (arm stretched forward) and return towards the head near to initial G position, the tension in the movement being resolved into tension in the hand with the fingers closed.
KNOW- Hand turns anticlockwise in O~ position (hand initially at the level of the nose) and moves back in towards the face, ending with the back of the hand in front of the forehead. The gesture seems a plausible one for indicating that an idea is held in the mind (as in GRASP that an idea has been seized as if with the hand).
THINK- Hand starts from TH position, moves up short distance with the addition of I, hand and forearm turn outward (clockwise) as effect of N, move back through C position towards the head ending with extended hand placed near temple and forehead - a gesture that seems obviously quite appropriate to convey the idea of mental process.
REASON - IIZ (EASE) produces movement of arm out from the high II position as a normal effect of Z. The addition of R brings about strong anti-clockwise turning movement of hand and arm, to position with arm stretched out to side fully, palm facing backward. Addition of ON (uN), reverses this movement and position bring hand back towards the head with back of the hand pressed against the upper temple. Again this seems a plausible gesture for an elusive concept.
MIND- This produces a gesture almost identical with that for REASON (like all the similar words, letters from the Circular Group are prominent in the composition of the word MIND). For AIIND the hand and arm move out from the position for AII (hand near the eye) turning clockwise as an effect of N. With D, the hand is brought back towards the head, ending in a position close to that for DU. The effect of the addition of M is to start the movement out at a higher level and to increase the outward movement, as well as the strength of the return towards the head. The gesture ends with the hand placed on the upper temple. Again the gesture seems reasonably appropriate for the meaning.
REMIND- The gesture is the same as for MIND but the action is repeated with the hand being placed several times on the temple. This is the normal effect of the gestural morpheme RE.
RECALL- The gesture for CALL is somewhat like the opening part of the gesture for FALL. The hand and arm move up from the C position to the OO position, this is unstable and, as for FORE, the hand and arm stretch forward, in a position rather higher than that for T. The addition of L causes a turning movement which makes the position unstable, the hand and arm are drawn back towards the face, the hand about level with the mouth and cupped -so that CALL is a direct action gesture accompanying the act of calling to someone. The addition of RE causes a repetition of the action in the usual way. The relation of the gesture with RECALL is nothing in particular to do with CALL but simply pictures the drawing back of something towards the head, as does the phrase 'Calling to mind' or perhaps 'Gathering one's thoughts'.
REMEMBER- The pattern of the word is obviously similar to other words with a similar meaning REMIND RECALL RECOLLECT. Analysis of the associated gesture starts with the syllables MEMBER. The sound BU~ has a position close to that for BU with the hand and arm bent at the side of the body, the hand generally upwards, the palm turned inwards and about level with the temple and eye. EMBER is a very similar position with the palm of the hand turned to face forward (as a result of M) and a slight quivering instability. The addition of M causes a further bending in the already rather twisted position of the hand and arm, the hand bends of the wrist forwards, and the arm turns with the elbow pointing forward. As a word in its own right, the gesture for MEMBER seems a simple indicative or attention gesture, presenting the forearm as a limb or member. The effect of RE is to cause the fully-bent arm to extend sharply outwards and forwards, reversing the movement to bring the hand partly closed, facing down, back towards the temple. The pattern of the gesture accordingly is very similar to those for RECALL and REMIND, the physical metaphor used being the action of 'bringing something to mind'. The gesture associated with RECOLLECT is almost identical.
REFLECT -The gesture associated with FLECT is very similar to those already described. Starting from the F position with the hand level with the face, the hand and arm are extended fully, sideways and forwards, with the movement reversing to bring the hand back to the initial position with the elbow fully flexed. The addition of RE causes repetition, with short flexing and extending movements of the arm. Presumably the metaphor is of the mind moving to and fro in relation to the subject of thought.
MEDITATE -Starting the gestural analysis from the end of the word TATE (TEIT) is associated with movement of the arm stretched out in the T position up and back into the EI position and back again to the T position i.e. a short outward and inward movement. The gesture equivalent to DITATE is the arm moving from initial D position, (hand near the mouth) via the I position to T (combining with the movement already given for TEIT) and returning back to the D position, i.e. a longer forward and return movement. The addition of ME raises the level at which the movement takes place, so that the hand returning touches the top of the head. The gesture seems a fairly appropriate (and in fact observed) one expressing deep thought.
UNDERSTAND- This is a curious word with which the etymologists have had considerable difficulty (see also German VERSTEHEN). The components of it are common words with a clear meaning but it is difficult to see why in combination they should mean UNDERSTAND. The metaphor, if there is one, is not obvious (as it is in the case of GRASP or COMPREHEND). Taken separately, the gesture associated with STAND is a strong forward movement stretching into the T position, with the arm pointing stiffly forward. For DER the hand and arm are in a position near DU, the hand level with the face, palm inwards, forearm nearly vertical. DERSTAND produces a forward movement of the forearm, extending at the elbow, into the position for STAND i.e. a vigorous forward extension of the arm. UNDER is associated with a gesture which combines the character of UN (as described earlier) and DER, the arm moving from a position stretched out above the head down through the DU position to end pointing immediately down. (The gesture is identical with that for DOWN). UNDERSTAND as a total gesture combines all the aspects of the partial gestures described. The hand moves from a high position downwards, returns up through the STAND position to the DU~ position, with the hand, palm inwards, close to the eye and temple. The metaphor appears to be the bringing up of something into the mind, a lifting up, with some difficulty, of something to the level of understanding.
Though these gestures are complicated in their formation and some might say speculative in the relation they bear to the meaning of the words with which they are associated, they are capable of validation in the same way as the gestures for more simple words. As regards the relation between gesture and meaning, perhaps the real curiosity is why or how human thought should choose or need to interpret brain function by an analogy with the physical world and physical movement. The relation between GRASP and the comprehension of an idea is no more and no less difficult than the relation between the gesture for UNDERSTAND as described and the meaning of the word UNDERSTAND.
Finally, in the exploration of the relation between complex word and complex gesture, what may seem an even more extravagant attempt, to see what type of gesture should, on the principles presented, be associated with some opaque words:
ELEVATE - For EIT the hand and arm move forward and down in a straight line from the EI to the T position. For VEIT (VATE) the hand and arm move up from V to the El position and back a little to the T position. For EVEIT the hand starts from the E position, moves down to the V position and then up again as before. For LEVEIT the hand and arm start from the high (above the head) LE position move down to V and then up again as before. For ELEVEIT, the hand starts from the E position moves up above the head, down to V and then up again finishing in the El position. The gesture is a fairly straightforward representation of lifting something, not really surprising if one observes that the structure (skeleton so to say) of the word ELEVATE is virtually the same as that of LIFT.
SEPARATE - For EIT, as before there is the movement forward to the T position. The addition of R introduces a turning movement which takes the arm up above the head and then down to the T position, with the palm turned down and somewhat outward. With the addition of Pu to form PARATE, the arm starts from the P position moving up and then down as before. SE in isolation produces a movement in to the side from the E position. Combined with PuREIT in SEPARATE the SE alters the starting point for the gesture so that it is no longer in a straight line forward; the plane of the gesture is tilted, the arm extending (as it would for PA) from the initial SE position, which takes the arm a little out to the side, rather than forward, then moves upwards as the effect of REI and then extends as it would have done for EIT but the extension is now directed outwards as well as forwards; the result is that the arm moves from a position close to the centre-line of the body out considerably to the side. The gesture is similar to spreading something out - and again the skeleton of SEPARATE is very similar to that of SPREAD.
SPONTANEOUS -the same technique of step-by-step analysis is followed. For IUS, the arm moves up and out through the I and U positions. For EIN (AN) the arm moves a little up and out from the El position. For TEIN (TAN) the arm moves up and out similarly, starting from the T position, with the arm stretched forward. TEIN and IUS are movements that fit together easily, moving in the same direction, each a short upward and outward concave arc, IUS starting at the point where TEIN finishes. The gesture associated with PON is that the arm somewhat above the P level turns out and upwards, again a similar pattern of movement to TEIN and IUS With the addition of S, the initial starting position near P is stiffer and the release into movement with the addition of ON more abrupt. In total the word SPONTANEOUS then appears to be equivalent to a gesture in which the arm moves abruptly, starting from the P position, in a succession of short upward and outward concave arcs, three in all. Somehow the gesture seems appropriate though it cannot be interpreted directly as an action- or a contour-gesture The impression it gives is of something springing or welling up
SPIRITUAL- Analysing again, YUU~uL produces a movement from the position already given for YOU with the arm pointing strongly forwards to a position produced by the addition of L with the hand and forearm pointing upwards, hand about level with the top of the head, forearm vertical at the side. TYUU~uL gives a movement from the T position to the position with the arm pointing upwards, the whole position being more tense. RIT produces a position with the arm stretched above the head and slightly forward. The combination RlTYUU~uL (RITUAL) combines the two movements, the arm moving as already for RIT and then continuing with a movement in contour similar to that already given for TUAL but with a rotation of the direction of the movement, so that the arm moves out as well as up. PIR produces a tight upward spiralling movement starting from P. SPIR increases the intensity of the movement. SPIR RIT and TUAL combine into a continuous and upward and somewhat outward movement of the whole arm, starting with the tight spiral of SPIR, followed by the upward curving movement of RIT and finishing stretched tensely upward and somewhat out to the side above the head. The pattern of movement could be more easily drawn than described. What it most resembles is an ascending spiral of smoke from a fire.
Obviously, the equivalence of meaning and gesture is harder to display convincingly for words where the gesture indicated by the set of equivalences given is complicated and the word itself is complicated and of obscure or highly debatable meaning, difficult to define in any final way. Nevertheless, the results of looking at a number of these obviously very difficult words are not altogether unhelpful.