The effect of high iconic gestures on L2 noun and verb learning.
In order to evaluate the effect of iconic gestures on second language (L2) word learning, an experiment was conducted in which Dutch participants learned Slovak words. All participants learned the same 7 nouns and 7 verbs. They either learned those words while viewing iconic gestures, while viewing and repeating iconic gestures, or while only hearing the words without any gestures. It turned out that, as expected, participants who saw the gestures learned verbs more easily than nouns. This could be attributed to the fact that verbs possibly have a stronger relationship with iconic gestures, creating a more pronounced motoric memory for the words. However, contrary to the expectations, participants in the repeating gesture condition performed worse on the word recall test. Therefore, the theory that producing a gesture during word learning introduces an additional retrieval cue or stronger memory trace because of its motoric modality, is not supported. Possible explanations, implications, and suggestions for future research are discussed.
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