International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Gesture and Speech in Topic Organization in English as L1 and L2
Isabel Mª Iñigo-Mora, Gloria Álvarez-Benito

The goal of this paper is to study the speech-gesture relation in topic organization in English as L1 and as L2. Twenty subjects (ten Spanish, ten American) aged 19-21 participated in this experiment. They were asked to watch a 7-minute-long animated cartoon and then they were asked to narrate what they had seen to a partner. We analyzed the following features, both in English as L1 and in English as L2: (1) average of gestures per informant; (2) percentage of gestures with new and old topics; (3) rate of pictograms with gestured new and old topics; and (4) rate of gestured new and old topics with action and state verbs. Then, we compared the Spanish speakers’ behaviour in English as L2 with their behaviour in L1, in order to discern whether they use the same gestures and topic organisation in both languages or they don’t. The results showed important verbal and non-verbal differences in topic organization in English as L1 and as L2.

Full Text: PDF