Gesture use for word comprehension in an L2.

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Being able to speak multiple languages is becoming more important as the world gets more global every day. A factor that might make it easier to learn a second language is the use of gestures. Therefore, this study investigated the use of gestures while learning Slovak words to Dutch native speakers. Moreover, the use of different word types was investigated, focussing on the comprehension of nouns and verbs when learning with gestures. The participants in the study were divided in three groups. One group learned the words while viewing gestures, the second group learned the words while viewing and also producing gestures, and the third group saw no gestures at all. All participants learned two word types, namely both nouns and verbs. The results showed that the use of gestures did not help the participants to learn the words. Unexpectedly, the group producing the gestures comprehended the words worse than the other two groups, and the group viewing the gestures had a similar performance as the group seeing no gestures. Moreover, no overall difference was found between the comprehension of nouns and verbs between the groups, but the group viewing the gestures did comprehend the verbs better than the nouns. It is important to conduct further research on L2 learning with the use of gestures, as the outcomes of this research do not align with previous research. Especially concerning the production of gestures and the difference between word types, much is still unclear.
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