Sign Gesture Interface in Second Language Learners

Hearing speakers use speech as the main mode of communication but they also use a complex set of gestures for communicative purposes. For example, they may re-enact the action of smoking while saying ‘I’ll be outside’. Interestingly, these gestures often have similar forms as signs but without the same level of conventionalisation.

The question addressed in this study is how these sign-gesture similarities may influence sign language acquisition in hearing second language learners. Using a range of behavioural and electrophysiological methods, this project will explore the sign-gesture interface at the earliest stages of sign L2 learning.

This project is supported by a VENI Grant (2013-2017) awarded to Gerardo Ortega by the Dutch Science Foundation (NWO).