Gestures and conceptual integration in mathematical talk

Abstract

Spontaneous gesture produced in conjunction with speech is considered as both a source of data about mathematical thinking, and as an integral modality in communication and cognition. The analysis draws on a corpus of more than 200 gestures collected during 3 h of interviews with prospective elementary school teachers on the topic of fractions. The analysis examines how gestures express meaning, utilizing the framework of cognitive linguistics to argue that gestures are both composed of, and provide inputs to, conceptual blends for mathematical ideas, and a standard typology drawn from gesture studies is extended to address the function of gestures within mathematics more appropriately.

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Acknowledgements

The research reported in this article was supported by a LaSallian Scholar grant from Saint Mary’s College; the writing took place during a scholarly leave at the University of California at San Diego funded by the Spencer Grant #200700151.

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Correspondence to Laurie D. Edwards.

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Edwards, L.D. Gestures and conceptual integration in mathematical talk. Educ Stud Math 70, 127–141 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10649-008-9124-6

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Keywords

  • Conceptual blends
  • Discourse
  • Embodiment
  • Fractions
  • Gesture
  • Metaphor