Some reasons for studying gesture and second language acquisition (Hommage à Adam Kendon)
Some reasons for studying gesture and second language acquisition (Hommage à Adam Kendon). International Review of Applied Linguistics, 44
(2), 103-124. doi:10.1515/IRAL.2006.004.
This paper outlines some reasons for why gestures are relevant to the study of SLA. First, given cross-cultural and cross-linguistic gestural repertoires, gestures can be treated as part of what learners can acquire in a target language. Gestures can therefore be studied as a developing system in their own right both in L2 production and comprehension. Second, because of the close link between gestures, language, and speech, learners' gestures as deployed in L2 usage and interaction can offer valuable insights into the processes of acquisition, such as the handling of expressive difficulties, the influence of the first language, interlanguage phenomena, and possibly even into planning and processing difficulties. As a form of input to learners and to their interlocutors alike, finally, gestures also play a potential role for comprehension and learning.