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12/04/19 "The role of gesture in the acquisition of a sign language as a second language" a càrrec de Gerardo Ortega (University of Birmingham)

12/04/19 "The role of gesture in the acquisition of a sign language as a second language" a càrrec de Gerardo Ortega (University of Birmingham)

05.04.2019

 

UR-Ling (Unitat de Recerca en Lingüística) us convida a assistir al seminari següent:  

Títol: "The role of gesture in the acquisition of a sign language as a second language" a càrrec de Gerardo Ortega (University of Birmingham)

Data: Divendres 12 d'abril del 2019

Hora: 10:00 hores

Lloc: Sala de conferències 55.003 - Planta baixa edifici 55. Tànger - Campus del Poblenou - UPF

Resum: Learners of a second language (L2) commonly rely on their first language (L1) to break into the novel linguistic system. One would expect that due to the modality differences between speech (oral-aural) and sign (manual-visual), learners of a sign language as a second language lack a system that could alleviate some of the burden to learn the target language. However, hearing non-signers have at their disposal a repertoire of gestures which are expressed in the same modality as signs and share the property of iconicity, i.e., the direct relationship
between form and meaning. In many instances signs and gestures may overlap in meaning due to their iconic links to the concept they represent. The current project investigates whether and how iconic gestures may assist at the earliest stages sign L2 learning.


We elicited silent gestures from a group of hearing non-signers and found that for many concepts, they have a set of systematic gestures that can be generalized across the population. These systematic gestures overlap in form and meaning to different degrees with conventionalised signs. In a learning context, we found that when iconic gestures overlap with the form of iconic signs, learners are more accurate at guessing their meaning and they assign higher iconicity ratings. These similarities are also detected at the neurological level given that learners’ brain signals process iconic signs with low resemblance with gestures as unexpected, novel manual forms. However, after intense sign learning, all signs are processed with equal ease.


The general picture that emerges is that learners’ recruit their gestural system at the earliest stages of learning and that iconic gestures may function as ‘manual cognates’ that assist making form-meaning associations with a novel sign L2 lexicon.

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