Cross-linguistic views of gesture usage

Kazuki Sekine, Gale Stam, Keiko Yoshioka, Marion Tellier, Olga Capirci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


People have stereotypes about gesture usage. For instance, speakers in East Asia are not supposed to gesticulate, and it is believed that Italians gesticulate more than the British. Despite the prevalence of such views, studies that investigate these stereotypes are scarce. The present study examined people's views on spontaneous gestures by collecting data from five different countries. A total of 363 undergraduate students from five countries (France, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands and USA) participated in this study. Data were collected through a two-part questionnaire. Part 1 asked participants to rate two characteristics of gesture: frequency and size of gesture for 13 different languages. Part 2 asked them about their views on factors that might affect the production of gestures. The results showed that most participants in this study believe that Italian, Spanish, and American English speakers produce larger gestures more frequently than other language speakers. They also showed that each culture group, even within Europe, put weight on a slightly different aspect of gestures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-105
Number of pages15
JournalVigo International Journal of Applied Linguistics
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Cross-cultural difference
  • Cross-linguistic difference
  • Perception of gestures
  • Spontaneous gestures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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