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Gesture and information structure in first and second language

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Abstract:

This study investigates the frequency of gestural marking of pre-introduced referents in discourse by Dutch learners of Japanese with native data as baseline. Of interest is whether learners' over-explicit marking of referents in speech and gesture reported in the literature is a phenomenon related specifically to the acquisition process of pronominal systems or a general phenomenon related to learning to structure information in a target-like manner irrespective of target languages. The data were analyzed in terms of referential expressions used (lexical NP, pronoun, zero-anaphora) and of the rate of gestures accompanying mentions of referents. The results reveal that even when the target language does not have an active use of pronouns, learners overtly specify referents in two modalities. Cross-linguistic variations in discourse-related gestures and possible accounts of the frequent gestural marking of referents in L2 are discussed.

Keywords: DISCOURSE; GESTURE; INFORMATION STRUCTURE; SECOND LANGUAGE LEARNERS

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/gest.8.2.07yos

Publication date: August 1, 2008

jbp/gest/2008/00000008/00000002/art00006
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