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Picture of Lopez, Renia (Dr)
Lopez, Renia (Dr)
Assistant Professor

BEng. In Civil Engineering, University of Leeds, UK (1996).
MBA in Business Administration, INSEAD, France and Singapore (2000).
MA in Applied Linguistics and Teaching Spanish as a Second Language, Jaen University, Spain.
Winner of the 5 best 2012 theses, Jaen University (2012).
PhD in Applied Linguistics: Disfluency and gesture in Spanish and Hong Kong English speakers, University of Malaga, Spain (2015).

Room No.FG333
Tel3400 2056
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Find Renia Lopez at Google Scholar and

Research Overview

My 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”.

Teaching areas

European languages and cultures
European trade and expansionism
Spanish language

Research Interests

Cognitive pragmatics
Second Language acquisition

Research Output

Journal Articles

Lopez-Ozieblo, R. (Under review). Exploring Cut-offs through Gestures in Proficient and Non-proficient Speakers of English and Spanish. International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching (IRAL).

Lopez-Ozieblo, R. (2018) Disagreeing without a ‘no’: how teachers indicate disagreement in a Hong Kong classroom. Journal of Pragmatics, 137, pp.1-18.

Lopez-Ozieblo, R. (June, 2018). Can gestures help clarify the meaning of the Spanish marker ‘se’? Lingua (208), 1-18.

Lopez-Ozieblo, R. (June, 2018). Testing task difficulty evaluating parameters and identifying gestures as a valid indicator. The Asian EFL Journal, 20(6), Ch. 11.

Lopez-Ozieblo, R. (2017). Cut-offs and Gestures: Analytical Tools to Understand a Second Language Speaker. In C. Vargas-Sierra (ed.), Professional and Academic Discourse: an Interdisciplinary Perspective (vol 2, 60-68). Alicante: EPiC Series in Language and Linguistics.

Lopez-Ozieblo, R. (2017). Creando intimidad mediante los comportamientos no verbales. In S. Fernandez Medina (Ed.), Almudena Grandes : memoria, compromiso y resistencia. Granada, Spain: Valparaiso Ediciones.

Lopez-Ozieblo, R. (2016). Estudio sobre la producción de gestos en estudiantes de lenguas extranjeras. Didáctica. Lengua y Literatura, 28, 165-180.

Lopez-Ozieblo, R. (2016). Book review: “Context, Individual Differences and Pragmatic Competence Naoko Taguchi (2012) Multilingual Matters”. East Asian Pragmatics, 1 (2), 277-281.

Lopez-Ozieblo, R. (2016). Adquiriendo ELE a través de los personajes de Almudena Grandes. Revista Foro de Profesores de ELE, 12, 147-155

Lopez-Ozieblo, R. (2015). Cultural aspects of immediacy in an Asian classroom. ELIA,15, 13-34.

Lopez-Ozieblo, R. (2013). Reflections on the Use of Nonverbal Communication in Teaching Spanish to Sino-Speakers. Revista de Lenguas para Fines Específicos, 19, 321-340.

Book Chapters

Lopez-Ozieblo, R. (2017). Independent ESP learners: The case for blended learning. In R. Muñoz-Luna & L. Taillefer (eds.), Integrating Information and Communication Technologies in English for Specific Purposes (pp. 37-56). New York: Springer.

Lopez-Ozieblo, R. (2012). Manifestaciones sociolingüísticas para dar y tomar la palabra en la interacción oral de estudiantes hongkoneses de español. Master thesis (unpublished). Universidad de Jaen, Spain.

Lopez-Ozieblo, R. & McNeill, D. (2017). Exchange on gesture-speech unity: What it is, where it came from. In R. Breckinridge Church, Martha W. Alibali and Spencer Kelly (Eds.), Why Gesture?: How the hands function in speaking, thinking and communicating (pp. 103-125). Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins Publishing Co.

Conference Proceedings

Lopez-Ozieblo, R. (2012). ¿Ahora hablo yo?: Observaciones de cómo negocian los turnos discursivos estudiantes hongkoneses de español. Proceedings of the III Encuentro de Profesores de Español para Sinohablantes (EPES) (pp. 210-220). Jaén, Spain: Publicaciones de la Universidad de Jaén.

Lopez-Ozieblo, R. (2010). ¿Cómo enseñamos el presente de indicativo? Recursos para las primeras horas de clase. Proceedings of the IV Jornadas de Formación de Profesores, Beijing.

Other Outputs

Lopez-Ozieblo, R. (2015). Analysis of disfluencies and gestures in Spanish natives and in students of Spanish as a foreign language. Doctoral thesis (online publication). Universidad de Malaga, Spain.

Lopez-Ozieblo, R. (2000). Demystifying Online Education. Master thesis (published online by Netdimensions, no longer available). INSEAD, France and Singapore.


Research Projects (funded projects – both internal and external)

A contrastive analysis of gestures in Mexican and Spanish speakers of Spanish. Funded by Early Career Fund, University of Huddersfield (2015).

Investigating the use of teachers’ nonverbal communication to enhance their classroom performance. Funded by: the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (2015).

PIE15-49: Design of virtual activities in English for the Virtual Campus Funded by: Proyecto de Innovación Educativa para la mejora de la práctica docente, Malaga University, Spain (2015).

Academic Writing in English as a Foreign Language (Extended). Funded by: Research Network - International Association of Applied Linguistics (2013 & 2015)

PIE13-29: Skype Practicum en Inglés/Español como Lengua Extranjera. Funded by: Proyecto de Innovación Educativa para la mejora de la práctica docente, Malaga University, Spain (2013).

Academic Writing in English as a Foreign Language. Funded by: Research Network - International Association of Applied Linguistics (2012).


Esteem Measures

Professional associations

Fellow: Higher Education Academy, UK.

Journal editorship

2016- Review Editor, East Asian Pragmatics (Equinox Publishing).

Awards and honours

Winner “Five Best Master Thesis” for the academic year 2011-2012, University of Jaen, Spain.