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ERIC Number: EJ906920
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0169-0965
Cross-Cultural Transfer in Gesture Frequency in Chinese-English Bilinguals
So, Wing Chee
Language and Cognitive Processes, v25 n10 p1335-1353 2010
The purpose of this paper is to examine cross-cultural differences in gesture frequency and the extent to which exposure to two cultures would affect the gesture frequency of bilinguals when speaking in both languages. The Chinese-speaking monolinguals from China, English-speaking monolinguals from America, and Chinese-English bilinguals from Singapore were videotaped while retelling two stories, and their speech and gestures were coded. The bilinguals retold the stories twice, once in Mandarin-Chinese and once in English. We looked at both representational (iconic gestures and abstract deictic gestures) and nonrepresentational gestures (speech beats, emblems, and concrete deictic gestures) and calculated the number of gestures per clause for each speaker. The English monolinguals overall produced more representational and nonrepresentational gestures than the Chinese monolinguals, suggesting that American culture is a relatively high-gesture culture and Chinese culture is a relatively low-gesture culture. When speaking in English, the bilinguals resembled the English monolinguals regarding the frequency of both representational and nonrepresentational gestures. When speaking in Mandarin-Chinese, the bilinguals produced more representational gestures than the Chinese monolinguals but more or less the same number of representational gestures as the English monolinguals. In contrast, the bilinguals and the Chinese monolinguals produced similar number of nonrepresentational gestures. Thus, gesture frequency of representational gestures (but not that of nonrepresentational gestures) seems to transfer from English to Chinese, suggesting the closely intertwined relationship of representational gestures and accompanying speech. (Contains 2 figures and 12 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: China; Singapore