- Source: Blind people gesture (and why that’s kind of a big deal)
- Blind people gesture! There is no difference between the frequency and types of gestures used. In a previous study on sighted people, researchers found that Turkish and English speakers gestured very differently from each other when talking about motion (rolling/descending down a hill). This finding could later be replicated – in blind people! How cool is that!
Not only do blind people gesture, but the frequency and types of gestures they use does not appear to differ greatly from how sighted people gesture.
Şeyda Özçalışkan, Ché Lucero and Susan Goldin-Meadow looked at the gestures of blind speakers of Turkish and English, to see if the way they gestured was different to sighted speakers of those languages. Some of the sighted speakers were blindfolded and others left able to see their conversation partner.
All Turkish speakers gestured significantly differently from all English speakers, regardless of sightedness. This means that these particular gestural patterns are something that’s deeply linked to the grammatical properties of a language, and not something that we learn from looking at other speakers.