SOAS University of London

Centre for Language Pedagogy

Handling more than one language: Why gestures are relevant to second language acquisition

Prof. Marianne Gullberg, Lund University

Date: 27 February 2013Time: 3:00 PM

Finishes: 27 February 2013Time: 5:00 PM

Venue: Faber Building Room: FG01

Type of Event: Seminar


In this talk I will show how gestures are relevant to second language (L2) acquisition. I first illustrate cross-cultural differences in gesture practices but also cross-linguistic differences that reflect differences in language specifically. I then demonstrate that these differences can shed important light on the nature of L2 learners’ linguistic difficulties, on their current knowledge about the language, and on how their language development proceeds. For instance, I will show how learners solve both lexical and grammatical problems with gestures and how their gestures may reveal an influence from their native language in ‘manual accents’. Finally, I will suggest that both seeing and producing gestures help language learning.

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