How does linguistic framing of events influence co-speech gestures?

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What are the relations between linguistic encoding and gestural representations of events during online speaking? The few studies that have been conducted on this topic have yielded somewhat incompatible results with regard to whether and how gestural representations of events change with differences in the preferred semantic and syntactic encoding possibilities of languages. Here we provide large scale semantic, syntactic and temporal analyses of speech- gesture pairs that depict 10 different motion events from 20 Turkish and 20 English speakers. We find that the gestural representations of the same events differ across languages when they are encoded by different syntactic frames (i.e., verb-framed or satellite-framed). However, where there are similarities across languages, such as omission of a certain element of the event in the linguistic encoding, gestural representations also look similar and omit the same content. The results are discussed in terms of what gestures reveal about the influence of language specific encoding on on-line thinking patterns and the underlying interactions between speech and gesture during the speaking process.


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