1. Sign language was initially considered to be nothing more than pantomime or a language of gestures, but research has shown that it is like speech on many dimensions.
2. Gesture has become a popular topic of study in its own right and is an integral part of language, forming a unified system with speech and playing a role in processing and learning language and other cognitive skills.
3. There are strong empirical reasons to distinguish between linguistic forms (both signed and spoken) and gestural forms, as doing so allows for predictions about learning that would not otherwise be possible. It is important to recognize the commonalities between signers' and speakers' gestural forms while also acknowledging the differences between sign language, gesture, and language.
The article "Gesture, sign, and language: The coming of age of sign language and gesture studies" provides a comprehensive overview of the history and current state of research on sign language and gesture. The authors chart the three stages that research on sign language has gone through since the early 1960s, highlighting how it was initially considered nothing more than pantomime or a language of gestures before being shown to be like speech on many dimensions. However, researchers are now discovering that modality does influence the structure of language, and some have revived the claim that sign is (at least in part) gestural.
The article also reviews the history of research on gesture, which has become a popular topic of study in its own right. Researchers have discovered that gesture is an integral part of language – it forms a unified system with speech and plays a role in processing and learning language and other cognitive skills. The authors argue that there are strong empirical reasons to distinguish between linguistic forms (both signed and spoken) and gestural forms – doing so allows us to make predictions about learning that we would not otherwise be able to make.
One potential bias in this article is its focus on sign language as opposed to other forms of nonverbal communication. While the authors acknowledge that gesture is central to language and is not merely an add-on, they do not explore other types of nonverbal communication in depth. Additionally, while they argue for distinguishing between linguistic forms and gestural forms, they do not fully consider how these distinctions might impact our understanding of communication more broadly.
Another potential issue with this article is its reliance on Kendon's work as a primary source. While Kendon's contributions to the field are significant, relying too heavily on one author's perspective can limit the scope of analysis. Additionally, while the authors acknowledge some limitations in Kendon's approach (such as his use of a superordinate term), they do not fully explore alternative approaches or perspectives.
Overall, "Gesture, sign, and language: The coming of age of sign language and gesture studies" provides a valuable overview of the history and current state of research on sign language and gesture. However, it could benefit from a more comprehensive analysis of nonverbal communication as a whole and a broader consideration of alternative perspectives.