Speak with your hands?

English: Two hands are opened palms up in an i...
Two hands are opened palms up in an iconic gesture, as though giving or receiving something.

I am fascinated in the way people communicate with those who are deaf. I refer to the use of ‘signing’, using the hands to convey messages. That of course is fine if the recipient can see, it must be so very hard to communicate with someone who is both deaf and blind. However I don’t wish to write about using sign language at this time and neither do I wish to talk about hands signs we all know and use every day because we are out of earshot of those we wish to alert. Of course there are the bad hand signs that people use too and I am not going there either! I was watching the morning news on television a while ago and something about the presentation struck me. It wasn’t the news itself, nor was it the people presenting it or even the guests they had. What struck me was the fact that all of them were using their hands to aid communication, simply gesturing to emphasise what they were saying. I often wonder why people do that, it isn’t something I do myself as a rule, though I might do sometimes probably without realising it. I suppose many who gesture in this way probably are not consciously aware they do it either. One would think the voice alone sufficient to relay a message but evidently it appears not. Take a moment to think of all the people in your circle of contacts or family who communicate with the aid of gestures. It may surprise you in one way or another. I remember an old saying about the people of France who have been regarded in the past as a nation of folk given to using their hands and arms a lot when speaking, which went something like this….’Tie a Frenchman’s hands behind their back and they will become mute’! It isn’t true of course but it makes you think. So why do we use our hands to convey or to support what we are saying and is it really necessary? I am of the opinion that those who use gestures as an aid are probably not confident in what they are saying, it’s as if they are attempting to influence the recipient’s response and acceptance. I think that if a comment needs bolstering it is probably a false statement but I do admit that those who use gesturing are not necessarily deliberately trying to convince. If I am wrong about this I hold up my hands….LOL

Shirley Anne



Author: Shirley Anne

Happy to be alive because of Jesus

4 thoughts on “Speak with your hands?”

  1. IMO this comes from prehistoric times when speech was just taking off and hand gestures helped to emphasize a speakers meaning. Also, people speaking to large numbers would use them to help distant listeners. This made it something allied to authoritative speaking and so gave weight to any speaker’s point: he’s waving his arms around so he must know what he’s talking about! Like you it makes me feel nervous when people fel they need to emphasize their point with waggling digits……

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