Gesture Dictionary – I to L

Journal of Linguistic Anthropology Number 14 Issue 2

A Repertoire of South African Quotable Gestures
Heather Brookes


Gesture Dictionary
A B
C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
I/me
mina (Z)
First finger or flat hand touches chest.
irritate (She/he is irritating/forward)
Uyaphapha (Is) [She/he is flying]
Arms bent up at elbows. Hands, hanging loosely with fingers splayed, are held out to the side just below shoulder height, and flapped up and down.
jacket/coat/jersey
islamba (Is)
Shoulders, arms bent and fists make movement of putting on jacket.
kick (Kick him down/Tackle)
Kapa (Is)
Side of hand hits palm of other hand perpendicularly.
kill
boda (Is)
Forefinger of one hand moved across throat sometimes continuing into a vertical point towards the sky.
know (I don’t know)
Angazi (Z)
Hands held out with palms up and shoulders slightly lifted.
lies (She/he is lying)
Uyaphotha (Is)
Forefinger or fingers with palm downwards wave up and down in front of mouth.
lip balm
setshaso (S)
First finger and thumb touching at tips are drawn across the lips.
little (a little)
ncane (Z)
First finger and thumb touch at tips. Rest of the hand is in the shape of a fist facing upwards.

lock/key
khiya/sekhiya (S)
Hand in fist with thumb resting on the knuckle of the first finger. Hand makes turning action from the wrist.

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