Literature Review Open Access

The Role of Gesture in the Second Language Learning and Teaching

Ning Cao1 and Guanying Chen2
  • 1 Department of Learning and Instructions, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Buffalo, NY 14260, United States
  • 2 School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin, Heilongjiang 150001, China


This paper outlines the crucial role of gesture in the second Language (L2) learning and teaching. Many studies showed that gesture is a key factor in the second language acquisition since it can help to convey meaning, to compensate for speech difficulties and to enhance memory compared to pure verbal learning. The presence of gestures with a verbal message in L2 learning brings a positive outcome to both speakers and listeners. Studies showed that gestures not only facilitate L2 learners in second language listening comprehension, but also have a crucial impact on the L2 word learning. Also, gestures are used as effective teaching strategies in L2 teaching and classroom management. Thus, gesture as a facilitating educational tool in second language learning deserves both L2 learner and teacher’s further attentions.

American Journal of Applied Sciences
Volume 14 No. 12, 2017, 1070-1074


Submitted On: 11 October 2017 Published On: 4 January 2018

How to Cite: Cao, N. & Chen, G. (2017). The Role of Gesture in the Second Language Learning and Teaching. American Journal of Applied Sciences, 14(12), 1070-1074.

  • 3 Citations



  • Gesture
  • Language
  • L2 Learning
  • L2 Teaching