A Developmental Analysis of a Concept Map, Speech, and Gesture

| September 28, 2007
A Developmental Analysis of a Concept Map, Speech, and Gesture

Keywords: gesture; microgenesis; graphic organizers; Vygotsky; private speech; thinking for speaking

John Unger
Northeastern State University, Oklahoma, USA

Bio Data
John Unger is an Assistant Professor of English at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma and teaches Linguistics, Grammar and Usage, and English as a Second Language (ESL) related courses. He has published and presented papers and workshops on Teaching English as a Second Language, Literacy, and Multicultural Education in a variety of U.S. and international venues. His current research revolves around different types of semiotic literacies for the completion of specific goal-oriented activity. Before his life in higher education, John spent four years in the U.S. Navy and fifteen seasons on coastal and deep-sea commercial fishing boats in the Northern Pacific, Gulf of Alaska, and Bering Sea.

This study explores the synthesis of gesture, speech, and a concept map as these are used for summarizing academic text by an adult non-native speaker of English who was an MATEFL (Master of Arts Teaching English as a Foreign Language) student at a university in northern Thailand. Specifically investigated is the spontaneous development of gestural signs that acquire symbolic meaning over short periods of time (i.e., microgenesis), and how these gestural signs are related to the concept map, speech, and cognition. Results demonstrate the effectiveness of using a developmental approach to the data and the linguistic categories of figure, ground, path, and manner to infer features of cognition. Findings have implications for using gesture for assessing language proficiency and isolating specific types of difficulties non-native speakers may have with the English language (e.g., lexical, grammatical). Data illustrate how gesture works with other mediational means (i.e., concept maps) to support communication.

See pages 58-92

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Category: Main Editions, Volume 9 Issue 3