Programme Leader: European Studies Minor
I started working in HKPU in 2007. In 2011 I joined the Department of English as instructor, teaching Spanish Language and Culture and developing the Spanish programme. Today, the Department offers Spanish, French and German as free electives, open to all university students. I am programme leader for the Minor in European Studies.
My main focus of interest is gestures, movements of the hands and arms co-occurring with speech, a modality used together with language to externalize the thought. I first became aware of gestures as a field of research when analyzing why non-proficient speakers could not successfully communicate with native speakers. Aside from the obvious lack of language proficiency, there was also an apparent lack of proficiency in nonverbal skills that hindered creating meaningful content and relevant pragmatic meaning. The ultimate aim of my research is to prove the link between thought speech and gesture. I believe that gestures help alleviate cognitive load in thinkers/speakers but also that they carry a significant portion of the pragmatic meaning of our utterances.
In the early stages of my studies, I was fortunate to be challenged by Prof. David McNeill, who is one of the founding fathers of research into gestures, leading to a joint publication in 2017. In this paper we discussed the meaning of the ‘Growth Point’, McNeill’s hypothesis explaining the gesture-speech-thought link. Currently, I am working with other gesture researchers in Prof. Gale Stam’s AILA Research Network “Gesture, Multimodality, and SLA”.
I hold a PhD from the University of Malaga (Spain), a Master on Applied Linguistics in Spanish as a Foreign Language (Universidad de Jaen, Spain) and a Master in Business Administration (INSEAD, France) under which I wrote a study on E-learning: “Demystifying e-learning”, in 2000.