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Gestus cum verbis—Gestures with words

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Gestus cum verbis—Gestures with words

Postby adrianus » Fri Aug 08, 2008 3:46 pm

In the context of some work I'm doing, I was thinking about what to do with your hands when you're talking,—hand gestures, in other words. I'm searching for words that suggest particularly gestures, hand or facial or otherwise. For example, exclamations inherently suggest particular types of gestures: gestures of surprise where you raise your eyebrows and shoulders, horror when you open your mouth and eyes and recoil the head.

In another thread the word "ita" came up.
Note that "ità" occurs a second time in this passage but with a slightly different meaning,— of degree, I think, where "ità vivo eo" could be translated as "especially (or 'all the more') with him being alive".
Nota quoquè ubi in loco "ità" secundò occurrit, ferè autem sensu simile sed, ut credo, hic sensu gradûs, ut "ità vivo eo" anglicè "especially (or 'all the more') with him being alive" verto.

It occurred to me that ità was such a word because the gestures for "here you are" ("ecce") I imagine to be similar to "as follows" or "thus", and equally to resemble those for "especially", which is why the same word can have different meanings (or homonyms), no doubt. In other words, when you think about the body language of some words, the homonyms make more sense. That's my little idea. Can you suggest other words in Latin that conjure only particular gestures, or am I talking nonsense?

Dum pensum quiddam aggredio, de quod manibus facere in loquendo linguam cogitabam,—brevì, de gestibus. Dictiones quaero quae quosdam gestus et manûs et vultûs et ullae aliae partis corporis suggerunt. Exempli gratiâ, exclamatio quaedam gestuum genera continuò requirit, ut supercilia scapulasque in levando est admirationis, ut os atque oculos latè aperiendo et caput retractando atrocitatis.

Alio in filo, usus "ità" adverbii tactus est. In mentem venit quod "ità" talis dictio est. Quòd similes sunt gestus ad "ità" atque ad "ecce" et anglicè ad "as follows" et ad "thus", non minùs ad "especially",—quamobrem una dictio potest sensus varios (vel homonymos) habere. Aliter dicere, cum gestus corporis considerabis qui verbos quosdam comitant, homonymi meliùs intellegentur. Ecce igniculus ideae meus. Potesne Latinè alios verbos suggerere quae solùm gestus speciales invocant, nisi nugas dico?
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Postby cb » Sat Aug 09, 2008 8:24 am

hi, quintilian talks about this in IO 11, 3:

http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/quintili ... 11.shtml#3

(here is an outline of 11, 3: http://honeyl.public.iastate.edu/quinti ... pter3.html )

also, i remember finding a long time ago books by Bulwer written in the 1600s called "Chirologia" and "Chironomia". from memory, they pull together lots of classical greek and latin descriptions about which hand gestures go with particular words, clauses or parts of a speech, and include drawings of the gestures described by quintilian.

cheers :)
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Postby adrianus » Sat Aug 09, 2008 2:20 pm

Thanks cb.
I have the Quintilian and Cicero refs and editions of Bulwer's Chirologia and Chironomia from Early English Books Online. Bulwer is wonderful. I hope for more examples of specific words that evoke particular body language. Bulwer talks about ideas and states of mind or emotions rather than specific words, which , of course, are evoked by the actor or orator saying the word for those emotions. Yes, words such as happiness, sadness and such are examples of words that I seek.
Gratias tibi quidem, cb. Iam quod de gestibus dicunt Quintilianus Ciceroque legi et libros Bulwer auctoris habeo (viâ Early English Books Online). Miri sunt libri Bulwer. Opiniones tuas et aliorum de his rebus quaeso et exempla verborum quae gestus invocant. Bulwer non verbis singulis sed cum ideis affectibusque attendit, quos affectus actor oratorve invocat nomines affectuum illorum in dicendo. Verùm autem, verba ut "laetitia" atque "tristitia" et caetera talia exempla sunt quae peto.

I forgot that Bulwer also gives abstract concepts like chance or fortune, as well as emotions.
Oblivisci praetereà affectus Bulwer concepta abstracta dare, ut fortem fortunamve.
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Postby adrianus » Sat Aug 09, 2008 4:28 pm

Actually, it occurs to me that the chance/fortune distinction is an example to test the idea that gestures may exist to help disambiguate in awkward cases. In Latin fors (as well as fortuna) have two main meanings: chance and wealth. Which is meant in a context? The context will make it clear in all probability, but I must look at Bulwer again to see if the gestures reinforce a distinction.

Mihi occurrit autem fortis conceptum viam parare ad probandum quod gestus fortassè nonnunquam cum casibus ambiguitatis inhabilibus adjuvare possunt. Quià fors verbum (aequè fortuna) Latinè duos sensus habet, ut aut eventum jactandi aleam aut divitiam. In loco quodam, uter sensus dici vult? Sine dubitò, contextum saepè ostendere, sed oportet me ad opus Bulwer referre ut videam an gestus pertinentes distinctiones portent.
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