Edited by Kateřina Fibigerová, Jean-Marc Colletta and Michèle Guidetti
[Language, Interaction and Acquisition 9:1] 2018
► pp. 101–136
The impact of language on gesture in descriptions of voluntary motion in Czech and French adults and children
The present study compares adults, five- and ten-year-old speakers of Czech (a satellite-framed language) and French (a verb-framed language) during the task of describing short animated videos displaying various voluntary motion events. In this research domain, Czech is a hitherto unexplored language whose specifics make it interestingly different from other typologically similar languages. Our focus is on the semantic level of the multimodal expression of motion. We found that in spite of substantial differences in their typical verbal patterns due to the particularities of their respective languages, French speakers and Czech speakers tend to produce the same gestural patterns. Although this phenomenon was observed in all age groups, a cross-language positive effect of age on semantic density of speech as well as gesture was also found. These results are discussed in light of models of multimodal development in language acquisition.