Edited by Martin Bygate
[Task-Based Language Teaching 11] 2018
► pp. 75–96
Chapter 3. The effects of task repetition and task complexity on L2 lexicon use
To date, a growing number of studies in instructed second language acquisition (SLA) have investigated the effects of task repetition on L2 performance (e.g., complexity, accuracy, fluency) as well as on the occurrence of interaction-driven learning opportunities (e.g., Bygate, 2001; Fukuta, 2016; Kim & Tracy-Ventura, 2013). However, studies have not investigated how repeating different aspects of tasks (e.g., content or procedure) during collaborative tasks affects second language lexical use. The current study aims to fill that gap by comparing the impact of procedural repetition and task repetition on the lexical use of paired language learners as they repeat collaborative tasks. Furthermore, how task complexity mediates task repetition effects was also investigated. Four intact junior high school English classes (n = 73) were randomly assigned to one of the following groups: (1) simple task with exact task repetition, (2) simple task with procedural repetition, (3) complex task with exact task repetition, and (4) complex task with procedural repetition. All groups participated in three collaborative tasks over three days. The task repetition groups carried out the same information-exchange task with the same content three times, while the procedural repetition groups followed the same task procedure but had different content for the three sessions. Learners’ interaction data during collaborative tasks were transcribed and analyzed for lexical use using a natural language processing tool. Lexical use was operationalized by word familiarity, age of acquisition (AoA), and word frequency (Kyle & Crossley, 2015). The findings indicated that as learners repeated tasks, they used words that are less familiar and have a higher age of acquisition. Task complexity was found to be a mediating factor for the relationship between task repetition and vocabulary use.
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