Investigating the effect of age and culture on co-speech gestures in Asante-Twi oral narratives.


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships




This cross-sectional study investigates the development of speech and gesture in L1 speakers of Asante-Twi (Akan-Kwa, Niger Congo). Using oral narratives produced by children aged 6 to 8 years, 9-12 years and adults (18 years and above), the study examines how language use is shaped by age and socio-cultural norms. It explores ways in which cultural expectations relative to oral narratives impact on the production and development of these two modes of communication. While Akan scholarship has investigated various aspects of language acquisition, development, and use, the focus has mainly been on the spoken forms. The ways in which speech is coordinated with gesture, has not received much attention. This study therefore seeks to provide new knowledge and fresh data on the development of narrative and narrative structures in Asante-Twi.