Two children talking to each other sitting on the ground
Two children talking to each other sitting on the ground

Head gestures as precursors of prosodic focus marking in the L2

1 January 2020
Project member(s)
Dr L.J. van Maastricht (Lieke) , Núria Esteve-Gibert , Ivy Mok
Project type

Prior research on the acquisition of discourse focus marking has traditionally focused on prosodic cues while disregarding visual cues to mark information status. Recently, it has been shown that French children used head gestures to highlight new/contrastive discourse referents before developing the necessary prosodic cues for this purpose. As prosodic discourse marking is challenging for both L1 and L2 learners, we investigate whether this bootstrapping function of head gestures in prosodic focus marking also occurs in an L2 context. Either L2 learners are able to mark discourse focus through head gestures before being capable of doing so prosodically, like L1 speakers. Or it might be the case that gesture and prosody are so tightly coupled in an adult L2 context that learners emphasize the same, possibly inaccurate, part of the utterance in both modalities.



Universitat Oberta de Catalunya

Contact information