Gesture use in story recall by Chinese-English bilinguals

Elena Nicoladis, Simone Pika, Hui Yin, Paula Marentette

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Previous studies have shown inconsistent results concerning bilinguals' use of gestures to compensate for reduced proficiency in their second language (L2). These results could be because of differing task demands. In this study, we asked 16 intermediate English L2 speakers (whose first language [L1] was Chinese) to watch a story and tell it back in both languages. We attempted to link gesture use to proficiency while accounting for task complexity as measured by scenes recalled. The results showed that these L2 speakers told longer stories in their L1 and used more iconic gestures in their L2. There were also trends for the women to tell longer stories and use more gestures in their L2 compared to the men. These results are consistent with the idea that the relationship between gesture use and proficiency is mediated by task complexity. The trends for gender differences, however, point to the possibility that gesture use is also related to expressivity. © 2007 Cambridge University Press.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)721-735
    Number of pages14
    JournalApplied Psycholinguistics
    Volume28
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007

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