Tense and Lax Body Parts in the Russian Deictic Gestures: The Case of Index Finger Pointing
The article regards the way in which the deictic gestures with the active index finger are executed in Russian body language and focuses on the role of the tension of the index finger (slightly curved vs. extended). Using the data retrieved from the Russian Multimedia Corpus, we discover the dependency between the tension of the index finger and the tension of the arm, which is engaged in executing the deictic gestures. We also reveal correlations between the tension of the index finger and (a) the primary / secondary reference to the pointed object, (b) the closest and the farthest distance between the speaker and the pointed object. We examine the difference in meaning and usage of the deictic gestures with the slightly curved vs. extended index finger. We argue that the choice between these types of pointing may be influenced both by physical and pragmatic factors.