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Title:Nominal and imperative iconic gestures used by the Khoisan of North West Botswana to coordinate hunting
Author:Hindley, Philip Colin
Periodical:African Study Monographs (ISSN 0285-1601)
Geographic term:Botswana
body language
External link:https://hdl.handle.net/2433/193253
Abstract:Twenty-three elderly males from nine Khoisan ethnic communities currently living in Botswana were interviewed in August 2012. The interviews concerned the audio (paralinguistic) and gestural means of communication that the men use during hunting. Hunters sometimes command attention through whistles, clicks and bird-like chatter, but communication is mainly gestural. Deictic (pointing) gestures are used to indicate the location of game and are followed by iconic hand movements to direct hunting partners. Both types of gestures, as well as audio signals, function as imperatives. They are accompanied by nominal iconic hand gestures that communicate the identity of the game by reproducing salient features, such as horns, tusks, ears, and tails. !X hand shapes are frequently based on the contours of an animal's spoor and suggest reduced iconicity. In addition, kinesthetic adverbial features are sometimes used to portray the behavior of the game. There was also some evidence of adjectival modification of deictic (pointing) gestures. A taxonomic lexicon of nominal iconic gestures that depict animals was constructed. Analysis of the hunting communication system revealed the possibility of a basic syntax. [Journal abstract]