Article published in:Translation and Translanguaging in Multilingual Contexts
Vol. 6:3 (2020) ► pp. 282–311
Promoting multimodal practices in multilingual classes of Italian in Canada and in Italy
This paper offers a qualitative analysis of the responses that 28 advanced learners of Italian in Canada and Italy contributed to a questionnaire asking them to interpret the meanings and functions of six Italian gestures, alone and in combination with dialogues. Participants were also asked to comment on their perception of body language in their L1 and in Italian. The purpose of the exercise was to expand L2 pedagogy towards multimodality, while at the same time accounting for learners’ multilingualism. We found that participants appreciated a multimodal approach to their Italian language learning experience. We also found that knowledge of languages typologically related to Italian (i.e. Romance languages) was no guarantee that our groups of multilinguals would be facilitated in the interpretation of L2 gesture forms and meanings. Rather, the presence of verbal language in dialogues, the form of gesture, and familiarity with the nonverbal characteristics of interactions in the target language, helped participants succeed in this multimodal activity.
Keywords: multilingualism, multimodality, translanguaging, gestures, Italian as L2
Published online: 15 July 2020
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