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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Task-Based and Individual Differences Influence the Effect of Gesture Observation on Novel L2 Speech Sound Learning


This study sought to replicate the effect of observing pitch gesture and clarify the effect of observing representational gesture on L2 lexical tone learning and to explore the influences of individual differences in lexical and non-lexical tone perception on these effects. The results revealed that observing representational gestures facilitates lexical tone discrimination, albeit to a lesser extent than observing pitch gestures, suggesting that task difficulty may influence its effect. Moreover, they revealed that individual differences in non-speech tone perception predict discrimination of lexical tones learned by observing pitch gesture and no gesture, but not representational gesture. Together, these findings suggest that task difficulty as well as individual differences in sensitivity to non-speech sounds influence the effects of observing gesture on novel L2 speech sound learning.

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