17. Bilingualism and Gesture

  1. Tej K. Bhatia and
  2. William C. Ritchie
  1. Marianne Gullberg

Published Online: 3 OCT 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118332382.ch17

The Handbook of Bilingualism and Multilingualism, Second Edition

The Handbook of Bilingualism and Multilingualism, Second Edition

How to Cite

Gullberg, M. (2012) Bilingualism and Gesture, in The Handbook of Bilingualism and Multilingualism, Second Edition (eds T. K. Bhatia and W. C. Ritchie), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118332382.ch17

Editor Information

  1. Syracuse University, USA

Author Information

  1. Lund University, Sweden

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 3 OCT 2012
  2. Published Print: 7 NOV 2012

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781444334906

Online ISBN: 9781118332382



  • bi-modal bilingualism;
  • bilingual adults;
  • bilingual children;
  • bilingualism;
  • gesture use;
  • language production;
  • spoken language


This chapter outlines some areas where the study of gesture and bilingualism meet. Body movements performed during expressions are part of the linguistic and communicative behavior. Therefore, a number of theoretical issues that apply to the study of bilingualism in the spoken domain also apply to the multimodal behaviors of bilinguals. This chapter discusses gesture use in child and adult speakers with knowledge of more than one language, mainly focusing on issues of frequency and meaning. Just as for bilingual children, gestures also play a key role for bilingual adults. In contemporary gesture research, speech and gestures are increasingly seen as an integrated whole which is planned and processed together in comprehension, production, and development. The chapter finally talks about the role of gestures in bilingual language production, briefly touching on issues of comprehension.