The hands, head and brow: A sociolinguistics study of Māori gesture (2016)
Type of ContentJournal Articles
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury. Aotahi School of Māori and Indigenous Studies
University of Canterbury. School of Language, Social and Political Sciences
University of Canterbury. Vice-Chancellors Office
University of Canterbury. Linguistics
University of Canterbury. New Zealand Institute of Language, Brain and Behaviour
- Arts: Journal Articles 
AuthorsGruber, J., King, J., Hay, J., Johnston, L.show all
This paper examines the speech-accompanying gesture and other kinesic behaviour of bilingual English-Māori and monolingual English speakers in New Zealand. Physical expression has long been regarded a key component of Māori artistic and spoken performance, as well as in personal interactions. This study asks (1) if there are gestures more common to or exclusively employed by the Māori population of New Zealand and (2) if their frequency and form is influenced by speaking Māori? More generally, the study considers the effect of different languages on gesture within the same speaker. Four bilingual Māori and six monolingual New Zealanders of European ancestry were recorded providing similar narrations. We report three differences between the speaker groups: a prevalence among Māori speakers for flat-handed motion gestures, gestures of the head, and eyebrow flashes. The findings highlight the probabilistic nature of culturally-grounded variation in gesture and the appropriateness of sociolinguistic approaches to their study.
CitationGruber, J., King, J., Hay, J., Johnston, L. (2016) The hands, head and brow: A sociolinguistics study of Māori gesture. Gesture, 15(1), pp. 1-36.
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Keywordsgesture; eyebrows; non-verbal behaviour; Māori; cross-cultural comparison
ANZSRC Fields of Research20 - Language, Communication and Culture::2003 - Language Studies::200321 - Te Reo Māori (Māori Language)
20 - Language, Communication and Culture::2004 - Linguistics::200405 - Language in Culture and Society (Sociolinguistics)
20 - Language, Communication and Culture::2002 - Cultural Studies::200209 - Multicultural, Intercultural and Cross-cultural Studies