Edited by Martin Bygate
[Task-Based Language Teaching 11] 2018
► pp. 97–116
Chapter 4. Discourse performance in L2 task repetition
‘Repetition’ in language practice has often been associated with behavioristic drills, typically regarded as giving rise to habit formation, and often excluded from mainstream language teaching approaches. However, this study, drawing upon Bygate’s (1999) argument that task is a context for the framing and reframing of language, shows that repetition in meaningful tasks does not necessarily involve passive performance repetition; instead, L2 learners are actively re-constructing the narrative discourse. This study provides support to this argument through the analysis of the speech samples from thirteen learners performing an immediate exact L2 task repetition. The participants were asked to perform a video-based monologue story narration twice to an imagined listener, and the comparison of the learners’ first and second speech performances shows that the learners enhanced their discourse performance with: (1) increased quantity of discourse (evidenced by more Total Words, Total Propositions, and higher P-density); (2) increased cohesion (evidenced by higher ratio of given words to new words in sentences based on latent semantic analysis, i.e., LSA Given/New value); and (3) increased quality of lexis (evidenced by higher Noun Hyperonymy value, indicating more specific nouns used). The results suggest that task repetition, in addition to its effects on language complexity, accuracy, and fluency, has an impact on learners’ speech performance at the discourse level.
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