Various studies show on one hand, the involvement of gestures in speech production and, on the other, that the use of the mother tongue (native language) or a second language, involves different mental resources.
Ethological studies have therefore been made, from the observation of gesture production from two speakers – similar in many respects that will be specified – one having English as a mother tongue, the other French, both speaking the second language of the other party, the goal being to compare their gestures while using their native language (L1) and their second language (L2). Similarities were then highlighted and several observations were made: (1) gestures are not performed solely with the dominant hand, regardless of the language spoken; (2) while conversing using the second language, communicating with both hands seems to compensate for semantic deficits; 3) the nature of the emotions felt could unconsciously change the choice of how visibly hands are used in the communication space.
These three observations lead us to believe that the emotional dimension of communication, linked to consciousness and cognition may change the gestural production itself. The observation of the importance of emotions in the unconscious choice of the hands used while communicating, if strengthened by repeated observations, could be of major interest to the didactics of languages. It could allow them to observe when a student, speaking in a second language, acquires a real mastery of said language and how this dimension could become recognizable in its gestures. Those gestures could ultimately be an important indicator of the emotional state of the speaker.Bron: Wetenschappelijke Revue Armand Collin – P.Turchet