Edited by Paolo Della Putta and Ferran Suñer
[Review of Cognitive Linguistics 21:1] 2023
► pp. 35–63
Cognitive Linguistics claims that language is not purely abstract and arbitrary, but meaningful and grounded in concepts arising from our embodied experiences (Oakley, 2007). The potential of using imagery and bodily representations to explain the conceptual motivation of grammar has been widely recognized in the context of language acquisition and teaching. This study investigates whether an increase of learners’ bodily engagement through the performance of bodily movements and locomotion produces even greater learning outcomes. To this end, we refer to Talmy’s (2000) Force Dynamic System to conduct a pretest-posttest interventional study with two groups of learners dealing with the German modal verb system. Whereas the first group watched multimedia animations (low bodily engagement), the second group was asked to perform bodily movements in line with the force-dynamic notions underlying the different modal verbs (high bodily engagement). The results show that both groups produced similar learning gains and that an increased bodily engagement could not be associated directly with a significantly better performance.