Publication details [#66668]

Wanphet, Phalangchok and Jalila Sfaxi. 2019. Exploring bilingual children’s integration of gestures into talk-in-interaction. Functions, meaning, and sequence. Language and Dialogue 9 (3) : 349–379.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


This paper explores how gestures, or the movements of hands, arms, and fingers, are employed by young bilinguals, or those who possess a good command of two languages. Moreover, it uncovers the sequential environment in which those gestures are found. The data come from twelve hours of recorded, naturally-occurring interaction between six bilingual girls in English. The findings reveal that their gestures have cognitive, communicative, interpersonal, and interactional functions. The gestures help solve speech problems, such as disambiguating speech, compensating for speech, and searching for words or what to say next. They also help allocate turns-at-talk, draw addressees’ attention, and maintain social relations. At a discourse level, the study reveals how bilinguals display similar gestures within the same discourse domain.