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Conceptual and lexical effects on gestures: the case of vertical spatial metaphors for time in Chinese

Research output: Scientific - peer-reviewArticle

The linguistic metaphors of time appear to influence how people gesture about time. This study finds that Chinese English bilinguals produce more vertical gestures when talking about Chinese time references with vertical spatial metaphors than (1) when talking about time conceptions in the English translations, and (2) when talking about Chinese time references with no spatial
metaphors. Additionally, Chinese English bilinguals prefer vertical gestures to lateral gestures when perceiving Chinese time references with vertical spatial metaphors and the corresponding English translations, whereas there is no such preference when perceiving time references without spatial metaphors. Furthermore, this vertical tendency is not due to the fact that vertical gestures are generally less ambiguous than lateral gestures for addressees. In conclusion, the
vertical gesturing about time by Chinese English bilinguals is shaped by both the stable language-specific conceptualisations, and the online changes in linguistic choices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
JournalLanguage, Cognition and Neuroscience
DOIs
StatePublished - 2017
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