Learning to talk and gesture about motion in French

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This study explores how French adults and children aged four and six years talk and gesture about voluntary motion, examining (1) how they encode path and manner in speech, (2) how they encode this information in accompanying gestures; and (3) whether gestures are co-expressive with speech or express other information. When path and manner are equally relevant, children’s and adults’ speech and gestures both focus on path, rather than on manner. Moreover, gestures are predominantly co-expressive with speech at all ages. However, when they are non-redundant, adults tend to gesture about path while talking about manner, whereas children gesture about both path and manner while talking about path. The discussion highlights implications for our understanding of speakers’ representations and their development.


External organisations
  • Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • General Language Studies and Linguistics


  • representation of motion, motion event, path, manner, language development, French, gestures
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-236
JournalFirst Language
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographic 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)