Introduction to Gesture and SLA: Toward an Integrated Approach

Marianne Gullberg, Stephen McCafferty

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The title of this special issue, Gesture and SLA: Toward an Integrated Approach, stems in large part from the idea known as integrationism, principally set forth by Harris (2003, 2005), which posits that it is time to “demythologize” linguistics, moving away from the “orthodox exponents” that have idealized the notion of language. The integrationist approach intends a view that focuses on communication—that is, language in use, language as a “fact of life” (Harris, 2003, p. 50). Although not all gesture studies embrace an integrationist view—indeed, the field applies numerous theories across various disciplines—it is nonetheless true that to study gesture is to study what has traditionally been called paralinguistic modes of interaction, with the paralinguistic label given on the assumption that gesture is not part of the core meaning of what is rendered linguistically. However, arguably, most researchers within gesture studies would maintain just the opposite: The studies presented in this special issue reflect a view whereby gesture is regarded as a central aspect of language in use, integral to how we communicate (make meaning) both with each other and with ourselves.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-146
JournalStudies in Second Language Acquisition
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015.
The record was previously connected to the following departments: Linguistics and Phonetics (015010003)

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • General Language Studies and Linguistics


  • bilingualism
  • second language acquisition
  • gesture


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