How language and culture shape gesture in English, Arabic and second language speakers

Alsubhi, Mai Salem (2018). How language and culture shape gesture in English, Arabic and second language speakers. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Abstract

This research project sheds light on how language and culture can shape gestures with certain gesture features. It consists of two studies: a cross-cultural study and a second language study.

In the cross-cultural study, gestures of a group of the English speakers and a group of the Arabic speakers were compared in term of certain gesture features: expression of motion events, dual gestures, use of gesture space and gesture rate. Gestures were elicited through narrations of the Tomato Man video clips. It was found that English speakers produced more conflated gestures than the Arabic speakers. It was also found that the English speakers produced fewer dual gestures than the Arabic speakers. Moreover, it was found that the English speakers produced fewer representational gestures and used smaller gesture space than the Arabic speakers.

In the second language study, gestures produced during the Arabic and English descriptions of the Arabic early learners of English were compared within subjects. The same methodology was applied. It was found that the speakers produced more conflated gestures while speaking L2 English than while speaking L1 Arabic. It was also found that they produced more dual gestures while speaking their L2 English than while speaking their L1 Arabic. In regard to the use of gesture space and gesture rate, there was no difference between L1 Arabic and L2 English.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Supervisor(s):
Supervisor(s)EmailORCID
Littlemore, JeannetteUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Kita, SotaroUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Licence:
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies, Department of English Language and Linguistics
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/8296

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