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Poster Communications Year : 2023

Talking and gesturing about motion at different L2 proficiency levels

Julien Perrez
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Abstract

The typological differences between verb-framed and satellite-framed languages observed by Talmy (2000) have been shown to be reflected in co-speech gestures as well (Gullberg, 2009; Kita & Özyürek, 2003; McNeill & Duncan, 2000). More specifically, differences between the types of language have been observed in terms of the semantic components encoded in gestures and the synchronization between gestures and speech. Such gestures should therefore be taken into account when studying L2 learners’ thinking for speaking patterns (Urbanski & Stam, 2022). Against this background, our study aims at determining how motion events are expressed in speech and co-speech gestures by native French speakers, Dutch native speakers, and CLIL French-speaking learners of Dutch. We conducted an elicitation experiment in which participants recounted the cartoon Tweety and Sylvester: Tweet Zoo (Freleng, 1957). Fifteen French speakers, fifteen Dutch speakers, and fifteen CLIL French-speaking learners of Dutch with a proficiency level ranging from A1 to B2 completed the task. We identified the semantic components (manner and path) encoded in the verbs and satellites. Gestures were classified as iconic, beat, deictic, or pragmatic (Kendon, 2004; McNeill, 1992). Iconic and deictic gestures were further analyzed regarding the semantic components of motion they convey (e.g., manner, path, ground, manner + path). Finally, we looked at the synchronization between speech and gestures (Urbanski & Stam, 2022). So far, 592 utterances and 741 gestures have been analyzed and our results show that French speakers tend to use PATHVERBS+PATHSATELLITES+PATHGESTURES in both their L1 and L2 to describe self-propelled motion events, whereas Dutch speakers prefer using MANNERVERBS+PATHSATELLITES+PATHGESTURES. As their proficiency level increases, learners use less often constructions only consisting in MANNERVERBS and use more often MANNERVERBS+PATHSATELLITES constructions. Learners with a pre-intermediate level align path gestures with verbs less often and more often with linguistic units that are not core elements of motion events in comparison with French speakers, Dutch speakers, and learners with an intermediate level. Finally, learners with a pre-intermediate level produce more manner fog gestures (which are often compensation gestures) and location gestures than learners with an intermediate level and native speakers. The number of pragmatic gestures also tends to decrease slightly as the L2 proficiency level increases. These tendencies suggest that CLIL French-speaking learners of Dutch rely more on gesture than L1 speakers and especially when they have a lower proficiency level.
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Dates and versions

hal-04547555 , version 1 (15-04-2024)

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  • HAL Id : hal-04547555 , version 1

Cite

Christina Piot, Julien Perrez, Maarten Lemmens. Talking and gesturing about motion at different L2 proficiency levels. 1st International Multimodal Communication Symposium (MMSYM 2023), Apr 2023, Barcelone, Spain. ⟨hal-04547555⟩
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