How to do things with words and gestures in comics

Ofer Fein, Asa Kasher*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In an attempt to explore the relationships between words and gestures in comics, the terms 'gesticulary', 'ingesticulatory' and 'pergesticulary act' are proposed and employed. A study is reported, in which frequent gestures from Asterix books were investigated. Ten gestures were used in the first part of the study together with their accompanied utterances in the comics, in order to examine the gesture-utterance connection. In the second part of the study, 26 subjects were presented with those gestures, along with corresponding photographed gestures. They were asked to propose utterances for the gestures and to ascribe possible meanings to them. We conclude from the results that the meaning of a gesture lies in the ingesticulary act, independently of the exact propositional content. We also argue that people have a firm comprehension of comics gestures, and that those gestures are understood to mean the same as similar 'real life' gestures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)793-808
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1996


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