Gesture as a window onto conceptualization in multiple tasks: Implications for second language teaching

Gale Stam 1
  • 1 National Louis University, United States of America


This paper demonstrates that it is necessary to look at learners’ gestures and speech to have a complete picture of their conceptualizations in their L2. It argues that context and task affect learners’ speech and gesture and need to be considered in SLA. A comparison of the speech and gesture of an L2 learner in two tasks (an oral proficiency interview and a narration task) over a fourteen-year period of time shows that fewer gestures per clause and primarily metaphoric gestures were produced in the oral proficiency task and more gestures per clause and primarily iconic gestures were produced in the narration. Implications for second language teaching are discussed.

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The Yearbook of the German Cognitive Linguistics Association documents the exchange of ideas in the Cognitive Linguistics research community and related fields, not just in Germany but all over the world. It brings together researchers from a variety of theoretical and methodological frameworks, whose work is informed by a broad view of language both as an integral part of human cognition and as a set of socially situated communicative practices.