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Gestures by advanced Spanish-English second-language learners

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Abstract:

We examined the role of deictic (i.e., point) and symbolic (i.e., imagistic) gestures in advanced Spanish-English second-language learners to determine whether the role of gestures is consistent with that of intermediate second-language learners (i.e., Gullberg, 1998). Participants (10 L1 Spanish and 10 L1 English) watched two short cartoons and re-told the stories in both of their languages to native-speaking listeners who had never seen the film. Gestures were coded and analyzed in relation to word types from the verbal narratives. We found that participants used more deictic gestures in their second language, similar to the trend noted in previous research. Contrary to research with low or intermediate proficiency participants, however, symbolic gestures did not appear related to proficiency. Possible reasons for the differences in gesture use by proficiency are discussed.

Keywords: Spanish-English; adults; deictics; proficiency; second-language learners; symbolic gestures

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1075/gest.4.2.03she

Publication date: 2004-01-01

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