Talking Makes My Hands Move

Actually, talking doesn’t affect my hands, but I can’t say the same for lots of other people. I recently passed a woman talking on her cell phone as she ambled down the street, one hand holding her phone, the other gesticulating wildly through the air.

            I think of using hands in a conversation to emphasize a point, to clarify the importance of something to the listener. But with no listener present, what can gestures accomplish? Do they help the speaker speak? Do they help the speaker think? Do they calm or quicken the emotions the speaker is trying to convey? Is the speaker, unbeknownst to the listener, using sign language to add to his message? 

There must be a switch in the speaker’s brain that turns on when sounds come out of his mouth. It’s odd enough to hear only one side when a person is conversing on his phone, but to see gestures added? Weird. 

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