Gesture and speech in learners of English as a second language
: a study of speakers of Chinese background

  • Peter Leonard Mcguire

    Student thesis: Other thesis - CDU

    Abstract

    Chinese speakers of English as a second language, after arriving in Australia, often demonstrate considerable reticence in expressing themselves, both orally and with gesture. Teachers of such students often think that such reticence is associated with a Confucian cultural and educational background. This apparently over modest self presentation may cause Chinese learners difficulties as they strive to achieve their social and educational goals in Australia. This thesis examines the causes of this reticence, and seeks pedagogical solutions to the problem. The researcher has adopted an ethnographic approach, and video-recorded the communicative performances, in real-life social situations, of a sample group of Chinese speakers of English, and has analysed the relations of speech and gesture as they evolve over a period of time. The conclusions support the view that the gestural patterns of the subjects are universal rather than culturally specific, and that the facilitation of real-life communication encourages the development in the subjects of individual, self-expressive styles of communication.
    Date of Award1991
    Original languageEnglish

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