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REASONING AND CONVERGENCE: THE EFFECTS OF TASK COMPLEXITY AND TASK CONDITIONS ON L2 ORAL PRODUCTION Melissa Baralt Georgetown University [email protected]
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Melissa Baralt Georgetown University mlb65@georgetown

Feb 23, 2016

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Page 1: Melissa Baralt Georgetown University mlb65@georgetown

REASONING AND CONVERGENCE:

THE EFFECTS OF TASK COMPLEXITY

AND TASK CONDITIONS ON L2

ORAL PRODUCTION

Melissa BaraltGeorgetown University

[email protected]

Page 2: Melissa Baralt Georgetown University mlb65@georgetown

INTRODUCTION This study examines how the

combination of two task features, +/- causal reasoning and +/- convergent solution, differentially affect L2 oral production of learners of Spanish

Page 3: Melissa Baralt Georgetown University mlb65@georgetown

INTRODUCTION

TBLT

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INTRODUCTION Proposals for taxonomies of task design

Brindley, 1987; Samuda & Bygate, 2008; Swales, 1990; Candlin, 1987; Ellis, 2003; Nunan, 1989; Pica, Kanagy & Falodun, 1993; Prabhu, 1987; Robinson, 2001, 2005, 2007; Skehan, 1996, 1998; Willis, 1996

Increased interest in cognitive demands of tasks and the effects of task complexity e.g., Samuda & Bygate, 2008; Ellis, 2003; Gass & Varonis,

1985; Pica & Doughty, 1985; Pica, Kanagy & Falodun, 1993; Skehan, 1998; Robinson, 2001, 2005, 2007; Robinson & Gilabert, 2007

Cognitive complexity as a basis for the sequencing of tasks Robinson 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009; Robinson &

Gilabert, 2007 “currently areas of intensive research in

SLA” Doughty & Long, 2003, p. 57

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THEORETICAL BACKGROUND:THE COGNITION HYPOTHESIS OF TASK-BASED LEARNING Robinson 2001; 2003; 2005; 2007; 2009;

Robinson & Gilabert, 2007Increasing the cognitive complexity of tasks along certain dimensions will: ( Robinson, 2001, p. 56)push learners to greater accuracy and complexity of L2 production in order to meet the greater functional/communicative demands they place on the learnerpromote interaction and negotiation work, and heightened attention to, noticing of, and incorporation of forms made salient to the input

accu

rac

y

com

plex

ity

fluency

More negotiation work and

interaction

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TRIADIC COMPONENTIAL FRAMEWORK FOR TASK CLASSIFICATION(ROBINSON & GILABERT, 2007, P. 164)Task complexity (Cognitive factors)

Task Condition (Interactive factors)

Task Difficulty (Learner factors)

(Classification criteria: cognitive demands)

(Classification criteria: interactional demands)

(Classification criteria: ability requirements)

(Classification procedure: information-theoretic analyses)

(Classification procedure: behavior-descriptive analyses)

(Classification procedure: ability assessment analyses)

a) Resource-directing variables making cognitive/conceptual demands

a) Participation variables making interactional demands

a) Ability variables and task-relevant resource differentials

+/- here and now +/- open solution h/l working memory

+/- few elements +/- one-way flow h/l reasoning

+/- spatial reasoning +/- convergent solution h/l task-switching

+/- causal reasoning +/- few participants h/l aptitude

+/- intentional reasoning +/- few contributions needed h/l field independence

+/- perspective-taking +/- negotiation not needed h/l mind/intention - reading

b) Resource-dispersing variables making performative/procedural demands

b) Participant variables making interactant demands

b) Affective variables and task-relevant state-trait differentials

+/- planning time +/- same proficiency h/l openness to experience

+/- single task +/- same gender h/l control of emotion

+/- task structure +/- familiar h/l task motivation

+/- few steps +/- shared content knowledge h/l processing anxiety

+/- independency of steps +/- equal status and role h/l willingness to communicate

+/- prior knowledge +/- shared cultural knowledge h/l self-efficacy

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RESOURCE-DIRECTING VARIABLE OF +/- CAUSAL REASONING

The speaker must justify their beliefs, support their interpretations of an eventElla quería que, estaba celoso que, deseaba

que+ complex syntactization in subordinate

clauses The Cognition Hypothesis predicts

increased accuracy and complexity in L2 production, but decreased measures of fluency

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INVESTIGATIONS ON THE +/- CAUSAL REASONING DIFFERENTIALAUTHOR TASK TYPE FINDINGS

Gilabert, 2007 Decision-making fire chief task, monologic

No effects on learner self-repairs;Task was perceived as more difficult

Niwa, 2000 Ordering of picture sequence + narrate, monologic

High aptitude less time on narration;High WM, High aptitude less fluency, more pausing

Nuevo, 2006 Decision-making table seating arrangement task, dialogic

More hypothesis testing in +C;More comprehension checks, repetitions, uptake in -C

Robinson, 2005 Ordering of picture sequence + narrate, dialogic

No effects for general measures of CAFSpecific measures?More interaction and uptake

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TASK CONDITION VARIABLE OF +/- CONVERGENT SOLUTION Whether or not learners must

‘converge’, or come to an agreement, as part of the task outcome

Duff 1986 Model

PROBLEM DEBATE

Some learners may prefer convergent tasks due to social/psychological reasons

Aston, 1986; Foster, 1998 (cited in Samuda & Bygate, 2008)

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INVESTIGATIONS ON THE CONVERGENCE/ DIVERGENCE DIFFERENTIALAUTHOR TASK TYPE FINDINGSDuff, 1986 2 convergent

tasks: problem solving with Desert Island and Sand Story tasks

2 divergent tasks:Debate with Television and Age & Wisdom tasks

CONVERGENT tasks led to more turns and more questions

DIVERGENT tasks led to more words per turn, more s-nodes per c-unit, more reformulation of output; significantly more comprehension checks, clarification requests

Significantly more “other completions” in divergent tasks

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CONCLUSIONS FROM THE LITERATURE Increases in task complexity (Cognition

Hypothesis) along resource-directing dimensions may increase the complexity and accuracy of learners’ output

No study has explored the combined effect of increases in task cognitive complexity (+/- causal reasoning) with the condition of +/- convergent outcome

Need for more research on variables of task complexity alongside task conditions and how these mediate production, interaction

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RESEARCH QUESTIONS1. What effects do +/- causal reasoning

and +/- convergent solution have on:1. the complexity of L2 learners’ oral

production?2. the accuracy of L2 learners’ oral

production?3. the fluency of L2 learners’ oral

production?4. L2 learners’ interaction during an oral

task?

2. Are any qualitative differences observed in learner language production when reasoning and/ or convergency requirements are present?

Page 13: Melissa Baralt Georgetown University mlb65@georgetown

PARTICIPANTS 58 learners of 2nd year Intensive

Intermediate SpanishFour classes, three teachers (one was

researcher) Total of 29 dyads38 females, 20 males

Dyads: 14 F-F, 5 M-M, 10 M-F Cover several cultural components in

class One is the southern cone, to include

Argentina’s Dirty War during 1970’s

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LA HISTORIA OFICIAL (THE OFFICIAL STORY)

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TASK To reflect on possible continuation of the

plot

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•With your partner, decide if Gabi should stay with Alicia and Roberto or if they should give her back to her maternal grandmother. One of you must take the side that yes, she should stay with her adoptive family, while the other says no, Gabi should go to live with her grandmother. Debate with each other while justifying your positions. Note: Even though you have different viewpoints, at the end of your debate you must come to a final agreement. Be very convincing!

Task A (+ causal reasoning,

+ convergent outcome)

• With your partner, discuss if Gabi should stay with Alicia and Roberto or if they should give her back to her maternal grandmother. One of you must take the side that yes, she should stay with her adoptive family, while the other says no, Gabi should go to live with her grandmother. Debate with each other while justifying your positions.

Tasks B(+ causal reasoning,

- convergent outcome)

• With your partner, decide if Gabi should stay with Alicia and Roberto or if they should give her back to her maternal grandmother. At the end of the conversation, you must come to an agreement.

Task C(- causal reasoning,

+ convergent outcome)

• With your partner, discuss if Gabi should stay with Alicia and Roberto or if they should give her back to her maternal grandmother.

Task D(- causal reasoning, - convergent outcome)

TRANSLATIO

N

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PROCEDURE AND MATERIALS After watching movie, in-class

discussion on movie Task carried out following class day All dyads were given their task topic by

teacher and recorded with imic and ipod Students were given recordings as an

assessment and to be able to hear themselves produce in L2

Consent approved, researcher later transcribed all recordings

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CODING: COMPLEXITY “The extent to which learners produce

elaborate language” (Ellis & Barkhuizen, 2005, p. 139)

Interactional (contribution), functional, grammatical, lexical, propositional

IC: Total # of turns (Duff, 1986) Total # turns per learner as a % of total turns in

interaction IC: Total # of words, total # words per utterance

(Crookes, 1989) GC: syntactic variety (Yuan & Ellis, 2003)

total # different grammatical verb forms used (i.e., tense, present, past, future)

“Sensitive” measures (Robinson, 2005) total # cognitive state verbs Use of subjunctive in dependent predicates as

mediated by cognitive state terminology

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CODING: ACCURACY “How well the target language is

produced in relation to the rule system of the target language” (Skehan, 1996, p. 23)# self-corrections (Wigglesworth, 1997)

# of self-corrections as a % of total # of errors committed

Total # errors per 100 words (Mehnert, 1998) # of errors / total # words produced / 100

% target-like verbal morphology (Wigglesworth, 1997) # of correct finite verb phrases divided by total

# of verb phrases x 100

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CODING: FLUENCY, INTERACTION Fluency “The production of language in real time without

undue pausing or hesitation” (Ellis & Barkhuizen, 2005, p. 139) False starts (a hesitation phenomenon of disfluency)

(Skehan & Foster, 1999) Utterances/ sentences that are not complete (i.e.,

constitute fragments). They may or may not be followed by reformulation.

Measures of interaction Clarification requests (Ellis & Barkhuizen, 2005;

Oliver, 1998) Total # of Questions (Duff, 1986)

Grounded-Theory approach for observation of qualitative patterns in production and interaction

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RESULTS: COMPLEXITY1. What effects do +/- causal reasoning and +/-

convergent solution have on the complexity of L2 learners’ oral production?

Total # of Turns One-way ANOVAs showed –Causal Reasoning

significantly more turns

+CR + ConvO

+CR, -Con

vO

-CR +Con

vO

-CR -C

onvO

0102030

Total # Turns

Page 23: Melissa Baralt Georgetown University mlb65@georgetown

RESULTS: COMPLEXITY Total # words; # words per utterance One-way ANOVAs showed +CR had

significantly more words per utterance

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RESULTS: COMPLEXITY Mean # cognitive state verbs, use of

subjunctive, syntactic variety

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RESULTS: ACCURACY2. What effects do +/- causal reasoning

and +/- convergent solution have on the accuracy of L2 learners’ oral production?

Mean # self-corrections

Page 26: Melissa Baralt Georgetown University mlb65@georgetown

RESULTS: ACCURACY Number of errors per 100 words

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RESULTS: ACCURACY Percentage of target-like verb

morphology

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RESULTS: FLUENCY3. What effects do +/- causal reasoning and +/-

convergent solution have on the fluency of L2 learners’ oral production?

Mean # of False Starts One-way ANOVAs showed significantly more

false starts in +Causal Reasoning Group

Page 29: Melissa Baralt Georgetown University mlb65@georgetown

RESULTS: INTERACTION4. What effects do +/- causal reasoning and

+/- convergent solution have on L2 learners’ interaction during an oral task?

Mean # clarification requests, questions

Page 30: Melissa Baralt Georgetown University mlb65@georgetown

RESULTS: QUALITATIVE OBSERVATIONS2. Are any qualitative differences observed in

learner language production when reasoning and/ or convergency requirements are present?

Causal reasoning demands lent for much longer discourse utterances

Convergent vs. Divergent outcome mostly apparent at end, with divergent outcomes as open-ended “es un tema difícil” Some solicited guidance; unsure what to discuss

In divergent tasks, learners often referenced personal anecdotes and stories

Page 31: Melissa Baralt Georgetown University mlb65@georgetown

CAUSAL REASONING & CONVERGENT OUTCOMEB – Creo que Gabi um necesita ser con um su abuela um quien es Sara. Y um creo que el terror que

fue un …el terrorismo a sus padres um es la razón que Ga… que Gabi um necesita ser con su abuelo porque los desaparecidos um meriten…tan… um sus padres um fueron desaparecidos y um ella necesita um ser con su familia.

A- Primero, solo Roberto sé que Gabi es la hija del desaparido Alicia no sé nada es la es porque la película es porque Alicia no sé que Gabi no es um simplemente un hija que uh necesita un madre. Pero uh creo que Gabi necesita um quedarse con su familia adoptiva, Alicia y Roberto, porque es uh un solo familia que Gabi uh conoce? Uh no es um…es mal por Gabi para um ir con una familia que no sé, que no um veo, que no ve nunca, uh entonces, uh Alicia y Roberto uh se amo Gabi y es um mejor para Gabi para quedarse con su familia pero al mismo tiempo creo que Gabi puedo ver hacer y um con… cuando Gabi es um … cuando Gabi tenía más años uh puedo uh saber la verdad historia de su uh familia pero ahora necesita quedarse con su familia adoptiva y uh vive un bueno vida.

A – Sí, creo que es un buen um punto pero um Alicia um ya um se siente que … se siente mal porque ella tomó Gabi uh de su familia y ella tiene emociones que…ella no es la madre real de Gabi y ella se siente mal por eso. Y ella…si creo que um Gabi puede um conocer a Sara, pero, um, en realidad, um, necesita ser con Sara.

B- Um Alicia nunca está la real madre de Gabi porque es un madre uh porque adoptiva Gabi entonces… es un cosa que…

[A- Si]A- Pero en una moda mala. B- Si pero, um necesita pensar qué es más bueno uh para Gabi y Sara quiere um pienso que Sara

quiere lo más um información de qué um de qué pasar con Gabi y ahora sé que Gabi es con una familia que es bueno… por Gabi, no es buena familia uh por todos, por Gabi, es una familia que um creadad bien para Gabi y um es una situación um relativamente bien, y Sara puede uh tenir una relación uh con Gabi pero uh no es bueno para Gabi um tenir una nueva familia cuando es cinco años. Es muy … um Gabi, um pienso que Gabi va a tener más problemas si um ir con Sara, um entonces, um necesita quedarse con Alicia.

A- Sí pero Alicia siempre será o tendré er tendrá miedo um de los padres de Gabi porque ella adoptiva… um adoptó Gabi um en un manera muy mala y ella se siente muy mal y siempre um uh se sentar..se sentará muy mal y creo que cuando ella um decirá a Gabi la verdad sobre sus padres um Gabi (3) uh habré…habrá um quer.. habrá querido um conocer y vivir con um Sara.

Page 32: Melissa Baralt Georgetown University mlb65@georgetown

CAUSAL REASONING, NO CONVERGENT OUTCOMEF- ¿Porqué piensas que Gabi debe quedarse con Alicia?E – Um pienso que Gabi uh que.. pienso que Gabi uh que.. quedé con um sus parientes ahora porque um Alicia

y Roberto uh crían Gabi y um Gabi están muy feliz um con ellos y pienso que um pienso que uh uh (3) es um es cruel uh cruel uh separar uh Gabi uh de ellos.

F- Sí verdad pero si Alicia y Roberto saben que Alicia está sus hija sus vida nunca va a ser la misma en el futuro porque um todo el tiempo van um tener la idea que su hija no es um su propio y uh entonces uh uh es posible que uh sus parientes - padres ahora no va a van a poder um criar uh su hija uh tan bien en el futuro con este um este idea. Y um también Gabi tiene un uh un madre maternal y este madre uh no uh no tenía un opción uh a dar su hija a los otros y uh también ella tiene um un derecho a tener su hija por su propio uh para saber su hija y para conocer su hija y es posible que la transición um (13 s)

F - Sí, sí. E- Pero ..pero Alicia y Roberto mantienen.. well puede ..pueden mantener Gabi y, y Alicia quiere a Gabi y uh

Gabi no conozca Sara Retallo sí Sara Retallo? y um no conozca Sara y ¿por qué Gabi um debe vivir a ella? Gabi no…Gabi no conozca Sara.

F- Sí, verdad, pero pienso que um debe ser un situación en que posiblemente uh Alicia y Roberto um se quedan en la vida de su hija Gabi pero Gabi también uh sabe que ella tiene un otra madre um posible no que su madre era torturar o secuestrado hasta más hasta tiene más años pero pienso que es la … la cosa correcta para ella.

E - Pero Sara uh puede uh involvar uh en de vida de Gabi uh y Alicia y Roberto están um muy joven (F- Sí) uh sí uh ellos pueden uh uh pueden cri…pueden uh criar Gabi uh por mucho…uh por uh mucho tiempo like de um de Sarah.

F- Sí. Bien. Pero si tú estabas la abuela de un un chica y tú sabes que esta chica uh era la hija de su hija piensas que um yo quiere tú quieres saber tu nieta y vi- quieres vivir con su nieta?

E- Sí, entiendo esto, porque um creo que el importante…el más importante uh que Gabi está feliz. (F- Sí). Y personalmente creo que ella es muy um es uh muy ella debe queda con sus parientes ahora.

F- Sí. Bueno. Pero.E- Y…F- Qué más. Es un situación muy difícil. No es un respuesta fácil por eso.

Page 33: Melissa Baralt Georgetown University mlb65@georgetown

NO CAUSAL REASONING, + CONVERGENT OUTCOME TASKC: Pues uh no sé que Gabi debe regresar a la abuela porque no sabemos que es actual-um

verdademente la nieta de, de Sara.L: Sí, y um no es, no exista la posibilidad de um um us- usa el examen de um maternidad (C: Sí)L: o de um maternidad

(C: Sí)C: Sí porque no existe en el, en este añoL: Sí en este año o en este país, um DNA

(C: Sí) C: y también creo que es muy difícil con los um documentos del hospital, porque parece que la

documentación del, de los gobiernos, y la er oh uh el sistema de salud no es muy um amplio…bien o, completa.

L: Pero en otro lado um uh el esposo de Alicia, uh Roberto? um es posible que él um sabe que um la abuela es la abuela o no es la abuela real. Um en la película um no es muy claro en el fin um si Roberto sabe.

C: Sí, es posible que Roberto sepa pero … no, en mi opinión no es importante que Roberto sabe, pero Roberto es un hombre muy uh raro, y parece muy mal y no sé si debe criar un una hija y

(L: risa)también no sé que Roberto y Alicia va a divoricarse.L: entonces um no piensas que Roberto va a decir el verdad?C: sí, no sé.

(L: a Alicia?)L: Pero es posible que um el saquerdote um sab.. saba. (risa)C: um sí, la verdadL: o otra personaC: Sí, no entiendo um los saquerdotes, pero um um no séL: Pero tú está, um estás correcto que nosotros no um conocemos

Page 34: Melissa Baralt Georgetown University mlb65@georgetown

NO CAUSAL REASONING, NO CONVERGENT OUTCOMEO - ¿Qué piensas?T- Es un tema difícil! Eee, Bueno, para mí es que…en mi – en mi opinión, la abuela? la abuela de Gabi quizás

no puede cuidarse de ella um mejor que pueden uhO- No la conoce para nada, sí.T- sí, sí, y como nosotros dimos ayer en clase, uh dimos ayer clase… uh no sabemos exactamente si um Sara

Reballo es en realidad la abuela de Gabi y por eso… (O – uh)

O- No crees que esT- Sí.O – Estoy de acuerdo pero no…uh creo que Alicia y Roberto como una pareja uh no funcionan muy bien.

(laugh)T - Sí.O- claramente… uh creo idealmente Gabi se quedaría con Alicia y quizás Alicia um puede, no sé, puede hacer

algo, um no sé, algo horario con uh la abuela materna y Gabi puede um pasar tiempo con la madre y la abuela materna. (laugh)

T – Sí, sí, pienso que sería mejor que Gabi no uh se quede con uh Roberto en particular, O - Sí por supuestoT- porque es O- un hombre T… es violente…O- Sí. T- y, y…y también- O- muy frío, muy frío como una persona, ¿no?T- Sí, no tiene un corazón.O - Con Gabi un poquito. Pero, todavía no es un hombre muy … T- Sí, a fin con Alicia no es, no era…

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QUALITATIVE OBSERVATION: PERSONAL ANECDOTE “cuando fue uh joven, creo que creo que

mi madraste uh mi madraste fue una mujer, una mujer en mi vida, like un amiga de mi padre, no conozco como ella estaba mi uh nueve madre, sí no es muy diferente”

When I was young, I think I think that my stepmom uh my stepmom was a woman, a woman in my life, like a friend of my dad’s, I don’t know that she was my uh new mom, yes no it is very different

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DISCUSSION Increasing the cognitive complexity of

the task affected learner production in unique ways

Causal reasoning demands lent for: significantly more words per utterance

significantly less fluent production Causal reasoning demands lent for: more cognitive state verbs, more uses

of the subjunctive, more self-corrections, more target-like finite verbs and more syntactic variety

-Causal reasoning demands lent for significantly more turns per task

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DISCUSSION The Interactant condition of +/-

convergent outcome only seemed to affect the task outcome: learners demonstrated a sense of focus versus not knowing what to discuss.Open- versus closed-task type?

Learners in the -Convergent Outcome (‘divergent’) group referenced personal stories. +Convergent Outcome learners never did this.

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CONCLUSION This study provides some evidence for

Robinson’s Cognition Hypothesis Increasing the cognitive complexity of tasks

will: Increase complexity Increase accuracy Decrease fluency Increase measures of interaction

Placing greater cognitive demands on tasks can affect learners’ output and interaction in different ways

✔✔

✔✔

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CONCLUSION This study aims to contribute to the

body of literature on task design, showing how task complexity and condition variables can modulate oral production and interaction

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FUTURE RESEARCH Examine measures of individual differences

(i.e., aptitude, working memory) and other variables (i.e., personality, language attitude) as further external factors that might influence A, C, and F in language use

Other measures of production, interaction, lexis (any differences?) Examine correlations between different

measures of production Gender as a moderating variable for

production Compare research measures of C, A, F to

teacher ratings?

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FUTURE RESEARCH Noticing feedback that is provided by NNS-partner? 1. T. Quizás ella es la sola cosa que los

padres tienen um similar… O. en común T. En común, sí sí.

2. C. Es posible que Roberto sepa, pero … L. … pero es posible que el sacerdote um sab … saba …

3. A. Pues, creo que Roberto necesita ser imprisionado ahora. J. ¿Impresionado? (laughs) A. Sí. ¡No! Encarcelado. J. Sí – estoy de acuerdo.

Compare with CMC discourse

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LIMITATIONS More measures of of production should

be employed and compared i.e. temporal variables for fluencyMeasures of lexis

Unequal distribution of gender pairings in dyads

Interrator and Intrarator reliability

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FEEDBACK OR QUESTIONS?

Thank you!

Melissa [email protected] University

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REFERENCES

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