Scientists: Russian speakers gesticulate in a unique way

© Fotolia / elephantasy of the Russian languageScientists: Russian speakers gesticulate in a unique way© Fotolia / serenko

. Scientists from Moscow state linguistic University found that during intercourse, all Russian-speaking people gesture in the same way using different forms of verbs, which is absolutely not typical for native speakers of other European languages, the press service of the Russian science Foundation.

«If the French use the verb in the complete time, they often make a sharp gesture, and if you use the elapsed process time, generally produce a more smooth gestures. We thought that such differences are found in the Russian language distinguishes between perfect and imperfect verbs,» says Director Alan (Alan Cienki), head of laboratory in the MIST and Professor at the Free University of Amsterdam.

In recent years, linguists and neuroscientists have been interested in how different ways of non-verbal communication between people influence their attitude to each other, transmission of information by means of words, and many other things.

For example, four years ago, scientists from the University of Chicago found that parents ‘ gestures play an important role in how quickly young children learn to talk by helping them faster and better memorize new words. Earlier, British scientists discovered that babies can recognize gestures already in 4 months, and adults – unconsciously to copy the movements of the interlocutor and thus to adjust to it.

Director and his colleagues uncovered one unusual national peculiarity of the people of Russia, watching as the Russian-speaking, German-speaking and French-speaking volunteers gesticulate during the conversation with the experimenters.

In these experiments, the researchers invited volunteers to a special laboratory where they are being watched set of cameras and programs that are used today for shooting films and video games. They continuously monitor the position of the hands and other parts of the human body in space that allows filmmakers and professionals in computer graphics to create accurate computer copy of the actors or the future heroes games, able to make «human» movement.

Linguists have used these data for a very different purpose – map which gestures the volunteers often did in those days, when they pronounced this or that word or used the various elements of the grammar of a language. Comparing similar sets of gestures for native speakers of the three languages, the researchers tried to understand whether they match or not and to find possible reasons for the differences.

«It turned out that regardless of the form of the verb in the Russian language motion is almost the same, preferring a sharp gesture. In German, the situation is also ambiguous,» continues the Director.

What is most interesting is the observation of students showed that studying French and German causes them to gesticulate in the same way as do speakers of these languages. For example, the Russian students studying French language, beginning to gesticulate in the same way as the French: they produce more flowing gestures with the verb imperfective.

As suggested by the Director, opening his team has a direct practical use — recording of such gestures using motion sensors, and building robots, gesticulating Frenchmen, Germans or native speakers, can help people to quickly master new languages and to better integrate into the teams of their carriers.

Why are there such differences, scientists still can not say exactly, but now the Director and his colleagues assume that their unique character can be linked to the fact that representatives of different Nations perceive the world and build his painting in my head differently.

«It seems that such differences in gestures are associated with which factors are more relevant with the construction of a mental image of the events speak different languages: an abstract grammatical meaning, concrete lexical meaning, pragmatic factors,» concludes the scientist.

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