Proximal and distal. Rethinking linguistic form and use for clinical purposes

Carlos Hernández-Sacristán, Vicent Rosell-Clari, Jonathan E. Macdonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With clinical purposes in mind, a review of the proximal/distal opposition is carried out in order to define a universal parameter of variability in semiotic procedures. By taking into consideration - differentalthough notionally inter - relatedsenses of the proximal/distal opposition, a cluster of semiotic properties is proposed, which initially permits one to characterize dimensions of variability in the form and use of gestures. The subsequent and central aim of this paper is, however, to demonstrate that the same, or homologous, properties can also serve to characterize variability in the use of language, by assuming a basic connection between gesturing and linguistic behaviour. The main focus of interest and the starting point for reflections are communicative impairments as manifested in apraxia and aphasia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-52
Number of pages16
JournalClinical Linguistics and Phonetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • aphasia
  • apraxia
  • distal
  • proximal
  • syntax

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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