A Cross-Linguistic Study of Open-Palm Hand Gestures and their Prosodic Correlates

Gaëlle Ferre, Amina Mettouchi


This paper presents a study of open-palm gestures with five recurring hand orientations and their use by storytellers speaking different languages, within distinct cultures – Metropolitan French, American English (US), and Kabyle Berber (Algeria). With the help of single (CA) and multiple correspondence analysis (MCA), we show that (a) storytellers of the three languages do not perform the same recurrent open-palm gesture orientations and (b) that they do not align their gestures with the same speech events: the speech prosody accompanying those gestures is different depending on the language of the storytellers. Overall, the study provides a preliminary picture of the various cultural stances adopted in the activity of storytelling.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-58

Cite as: Ferre, G., Mettouchi, A. (2020) A Cross-Linguistic Study of Open-Palm Hand Gestures and their Prosodic Correlates. Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020, 285-289, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-58.


@inproceedings{Ferre2020,
  author={Gaëlle Ferre and Amina Mettouchi},
  title={{A Cross-Linguistic Study of Open-Palm Hand Gestures and their Prosodic Correlates}},
  year=2020,
  booktitle={Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020},
  pages={285--289},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-58},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-58}
}