LAMiNATE Talks: Bert Oben (KU Leuven). Multimodal foreigner talk: verbal and non-verbal adaptations by native speakers when interacting with non-native speakers
In this talk I will address the phenomenon of foreigner talk from a multimodal perspective. More specifically, the analyses will show to what extent native speakers (NS) adapt their verbal and non-verbal (i.c. co-verbal gestures) behaviour when interacting with non-native speakers (NNS), and to what extent this has a (positive) effect on the NNS’s attitude towards the NS. The work I am presenting, is based on two datasets in which NS-NNS and NS-NS dyads are engaged in a picture description task and in an introductory conversation. OpenPose was used to derive kinematic data on the spatial and temporal dimensions of gesture production, and some coarse grained linguistic measures (incl. word frequency and type-token ratio) were calculated to cover the verbal side of foreigner talk. Most of our hypotheses were confirmed: foreigner talk in our data is characterized by an increase in gesture duration, gesture size and gesture velocity, and a decrease in speech rate and type-token ratio. The strategies at the verbal level do not seem to correlate with those at the non-verbal (i.e. speakers that decrease their speech rate or type-token ratio are typically not producing larger or longer gestures), and whether or not a NS uses (either verbal or non-verbal) foreigner talk strategies does not seem to have an impact on how the NNS judges the NS in a social attraction rating task. Apart from presenting these results, I would like to discuss the next steps in my foreigner talk research.