Some reasons for studying gesture and second language acquisition (Hommage à Adam Kendon).

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper outlines some reasons for why gestures are relevant to the study of SLA. First, given cross-cultural and cross-linguistic gestural repertoires, gestures can be treated as part of what learners can acquire in a target language. Gestures can therefore be studied as a developing system in their own right both in L2 production and comprehension. Second, because of the close link between gestures, language, and speech, learners' gestures as deployed in L2 usage and interaction can offer valuable insights into the processes of acquisition, such as the handling of expressive difficulties, the influence of the first language, interlanguage phenomena, and possibly even into planning and processing difficulties. As a form of input to learners and to their interlocutors alike, finally, gestures also play a potential role for comprehension and learning.


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

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • General Language Studies and Linguistics


  • gesture, second language acquisition
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-124
JournalInternational Review of Applied Linguistics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006
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)

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