Learner and native speaker perspectives on a culturally-specific Japanese refusal gesture

Nicholas O. Jungheim*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this study is to investigate how learners of Japanese as a second language (n=16) and Japanese native speakers (n=17) interpret a Japanese refusal gesture, the so-called Hand Fan, to observe how these interpretations are accompanied by similar manual gestures, and to see how participants perceive its comprehensibility. Results indicate that learners are significantly poorer than native speakers at interpreting this uniquely Japanese refusal gesture, although there was no significant difference between the two groups in their judgments of the difficulty to interpret the Hand Fan gesture. This suggests that the acquisition of allegedly simple conventional gestures may not be so easy for language learners either for reception or production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-143
Number of pages19
JournalIRAL - International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Jun 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Linguistics and Language
  • Language and Linguistics


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