March 4, 2012

Article: Gestures Should Be Part of Language Learning


To Learn A New Language, You've Got to Move More Than Your Mouth!
By Anthony Jackson
February 24, 2012

A study reported in the journal Mind, Brain, and Education (Volume 5, Issue 4, pages 196-211, December 2011) shows that the use of gestures "empowers foreign language learning." According to the study, learners of an artificial language were able to use words that were encoded through gestures more frequently than words that were simply memorized, "demonstrating their enhanced accessibility in memory."

What is somewhat more surprising about this work is that it suggests that gestures are useful for encoding not just action words, but even more abstract terms. A New Scientist (January 9, 2012) report on the study points out that this method worked for abstract words, such as "rather," that have no obvious gestural equivalent just as well as it did for words that have a physical counterpart, such as "cut."

Read the full article at

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