Gesture use and its role for nativeness judgements

Lisa Hooijschuur, Nanna Hilton, Hanneke Loerts

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    Despite the fact that gestures are seen as part of language, they are usually not included in studies of ultimate attainment and native-likeness in a second language. The aim of the present study is twofold: to give a description of the variation in gesture frequency, type and placement among different proficiency groups of Dutch learners of English, and to investigate the role that gestures play for determining nativeness of such learners. We compared gestures made by native and Dutch speakers of British English (BrE) and examined whether, and to what extent, native speakers of English use such gestures to judge nativeness. No clear differences were found between types, amounts and placements of gestures between the groups. Nor did the nativeness ratings of the three informant groups differ significantly. These results indicate that in contexts with two typologically and culturally similar languages gestures do not contribute to the perception of nativeness.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)21-40
    Number of pages20
    JournalDutch Journal of Applied Linguistics
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

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