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An exploratory study into trade-off effects of complexity, accuracy and fluency in young learners' oral task repetition

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>12/2014
<mark>Journal</mark>TESL Canada Journal
Issue numberSpecial Issue 8
Volume31
Number of pages24
Pages (from-to)23-46
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Studying task repetition for adult and young foreign language learners of English (EFL) has received growing interest in recent literature within the task-based ap- proach (Bygate, 2009; Hawkes, 2012; Mackey, Kanganas, & Oliver, 2007; Pinter, 2007b). Earlier work suggests that second language (L2) learners benefit from repeating the same or a slightly different task. Task repetition has been shown to enhance fluency and may also add to complexity or accuracy of production. However, few investigations have taken a closer look at the underlying relation- ships between the three dimensions of task performance: complexity, accuracy, and fluency (CAF). Using Skehan’s (2009) trade-off hypothesis as an explan- atory framework, our study aims to fill this gap by investigating interactions among CAF measures. We report on the repeated performances on an oral spot- the-difference task by six 9-year-old EFL learners. Mirroring earlier work, our data reveal significant increases of fluency through task repetition. Correlational analyses show that initial performances that benefit in one dimension come at the expense of another; by the third performance, however, trade-off effects disappear. Further qualitative explanations support our interpretation that with growing task-familiarity students are able to focus their attention on all three CAF dimen- sions simultaneously.