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The role of task- and listener-characteristics in second language listening

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>03/2015
<mark>Journal</mark>TESOL Quarterly
Issue number1
Number of pages28
Pages (from-to)141-168
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date19/05/14
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This study investigated the relationship between second language (L2) listening and a range of task and listener characteristics. More specifically, for a group of 93 nonnative English speakers, the researchers examined the extent to which linguistic complexity of the listening task input and response, and speed and explicitness of the input, were associated with task difficulty. In addition, the study explored the relationship between L2 listening and listeners' working memory and listening anxiety. The participants responded to 30 multiple-choice listening items and took an English proficiency test. They also completed two working memory tasks and a listening anxiety questionnaire. The researchers analysed listening input and responses in terms of a variety of measures, using Cohmetrix, WebVocabProfiler, Praat, and the PHRASE list, in combination with expert analysis. Task difficulty and participant ability were determined by means of Rasch analysis, and correlational analyses were run to investigate the task and listener variables' association with L2 listening. The study found that L2 listening task difficulty correlated significantly with indicators of phonological, discourse, and lexical complexity and with referential cohesion. Better L2 listening performances were delivered by less anxious listeners and, depending on L2 listening measure, by those with a higher working memory capacity.

Bibliographic note

© 2014 The Authors. TESOL Quarterly published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of TESOL International Association. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.