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Author Wieselman Schulman, Bari
Title A crosslinguistic investigation of the speech-gesture relationship in motion event descriptions
book jacket
Descript 101 p
Note Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 65-03, Section: B, page: 1574
Adviser: Susan Goldin-Meadow
Thesis (Ph.D.)--The University of Chicago, 2004
It has long been observed that humans gesture when they speak. Following McNeill's (1992, 2000) proposal that speech and gesture form an integrated system and should be studied together, the current study aims to expand what we know about the relationship between the two modalities. Research on lexicalization patterns has shown that different languages carve up the world in different ways (e.g., Talmy 1985). Recent studies of spoken narrative suggest that these structural differences between languages and the resultant variation in lexicalization patterns might differentially impact the attention given to three key elements of a motion event---path, manner, and ground---and influence online speaking patterns (Slobin 2003, in press). In keeping with this work and with a growing body of gesture research which suggests that the spontaneous gestures that accompany speech may also differ crosslinguistically (e.g., McNeill 1998; Ozyurek, McNeill, and Kita 1999; McNeill and Duncan 2000), the present work aims to investigate these differences by examining both speech and gesture patterns in the motion event descriptions of adult monolingual and bilingual speakers of English and Spanish
Participants watched video clips containing various motion events and described the events to an experimenter. Findings suggest that the monolingual groups display distinct distribution patterns in terms of motion event element encoding when the modalities are viewed together, and when viewed apart, their gesture patterns mirror their speech patterns. Interestingly, in both languages, the bilingual speakers display a distribution much like that of the monolingual Spanish speakers when the modalities are examined together, but show a speech-gesture disconnect when the modalities are viewed separately. Here, their speech patterns mirror those of the Spanish monolinguals, but their gesture patterns more closely mirror those of the English monolinguals. It seems that being bilingual is more than simply carrying two independent languages in one mind and switching between language-specific patterns depending on which language is in use. It may involve grappling with both patterns during online communication. It seems clear that the language in use cannot wholly override native patterns and that native patterns are not so pervasive as to be the only option
School code: 0330
Host Item Dissertation Abstracts International 65-03B
Subject Psychology, Cognitive
Psychology, Developmental
Speech Communication
Alt Author The University of Chicago
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