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ERIC Number: EJ1038086
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0026-7902
How I See What You're Saying: The Role of Gestures in Native and Foreign Language Listening Comprehension
Dahl, Tove Irene; Ludvigsen, Susanne
Modern Language Journal, v98 n3 p813-833 Fall 2014
In what ways do native language (NL) speakers and foreign language (FL) learners differ in understanding the same messages delivered with or without gestures? To answer this question, seventh- and eighth-grade NL and FL learners of English in the United States and Norway were shown a video of a speaker describing, in English, a cartoon image that the viewers could not see. For half the viewers, the speaker's gestures were visible; for the others they were not. Participants drew a picture of each description, which was later coded for recall of explicit information, comprehension of logically implied information, and distortions. Overall, NL listeners produced the most accurate drawings; the presence of gestures did not appreciably facilitate NL comprehension. In contrast, the availability of gestures had a measurable effect on FL listener performance: It enabled them to produce drawings within native-like range. However, lack of gestures negatively impacted FL listener comprehension and recall. Regardless of condition, distortions in FL responses were significantly more frequent than in NL responses. All participants reported valuing visual cues in communication, yet their understanding of their value for their actual drawing performance was inconsistent, suggesting a difference between visual cue preference and visual cue dependence.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 7; Grade 8; Junior High Schools; Middle Schools; Elementary Education; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Norway; United States