Gesture As Language: Why We Point With A Finger


Gesture As Language: Why We Point With A Finger

Have you ever thought of the gestures the human commonly use? From where it originated? The baby learns to point with a finger, and it is probably the first gesture a baby learns as a replacement of words. It is not the replacement but a complete word. However, the origin of these gestures is not known until now. They play a significant role in human language irrespective of race, region, or religion. It might originate from touch.

If you go a little deeper, you will be amazed by its accuracy. We will pick the right one, not the other, with this pointing gesture. Demonstrative words like this and that are also equally powerful. These two are the simplest and perhaps the earliest ways to refer an object. It is the base of general linguistic communication too.

Let’s analyze the studies and investigations made on the angles of the pointing fingers, how precisely we use them to direct a particular object among many others present there. By pointing, we are virtually touching that object. So, touch also has a significant role.

Gesture As Language: Why We Point With A Finger
Gesture As Language: Why We Point With A Finger

Have You Noticed These 3 Points When You Point With A Finger?

 When you point to any object, your orientation of fingers becomes such that they want to tough that object. It is unlike the street lights that use arrows to indicate. We connect our eyes to the fingertips to aim at a particular object.

If the object is far away from you, you will rotate your wrist and make a gesture with your fingers such that you are touching that. It denotes that point has some connection with touching. Surprisingly, if the object is at your right side, you will rotate your wrist clockwise. If it is on your left side, you will turn the wrist anti-clockwise. This effect is even seen in an 18 months old infant.

Pointing sheds light on the human language, which is our primary method of communication. Language is what we use to tell someone so that he can understand what I mean. Pointing is the first gesture what the babies use to draw his parents’ attention to tell something far before they learn to speak. The gesture is not the replacement, that is their first word, the language.

Pointing With A Finger Is Different From Grabbing

When you point to something, this usually means that you want others to see it or know about it. For instance, a mother points to the moon to show her baby the beautiful, round object.

When the babies want something like the ball in their hands, their gestures of pointing change. They stretch their fingers in  ‘grabbing’ the gesture.

Gesture As Language: Why We Point With A Finger
Gesture As Language: Why We Point With A Finger

Babies learn that the easiest way to draw attention is to touch the things to them. So, touching is closely related to pointing. And when they want to bring their parents’ attention to a distant object, they point it as if they are touching. Pointing works as a visual touch in this situation.

We are not aware of these gesture details what we are doing now and then, and we get surprised to learn that.

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