Gesture as a Communication Strategy in Learners of French and Swedish
Three native speakers of Swedish learning French and three native speakers of French learning Swedish were asked to retell a cartoon both in their first and second language, and their use of gesture as a communication strategy was investigated. The quantitative difference between the NNS groups was found to be due to different proficiency levels rather than to the influence of LI, since no quantitative difference could be found in gesture use between the NSs of French and NS of Swedish. All speakers used more gestures per clause as NNSs, but the type of gestures used and their distribution was very similar across Lis. All NNSs use iconic and metaphoric gestures to compensate for lexical deficits, exploiting and illustrating features of the referent. Attempts to manage discourse result in deictic gestures to establish explicit co-reference and coherence. The same gestural behaviour could be found in all NSs, again irrespective of LI. It is suggested that the difference between strategic behaviour in LI and L2 is mainly a matter of degree.