Chapter 2. On-line time pressure manipulations

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This chapter is concerned with an investigation of the underlying mechanisms of second language speaking. It reports on an experiment containing five different types of planning and repetition conditions, each relevant to certain processes and stages of speech production. The five conditions were two forms of strategic planning, two forms of on-line planning, and task repetition. Data were collected from 77 undergraduates (L1: Chinese and L2: English) doing a video narrative task in English. Speech samples were transcribed and coded. The study found: (1) strategic planning improved speech complexity and fluency, suggesting that support for the conceptualization stage in speech production helps language complexity and fluency; (2) on-line planning solely focusing on the formulation stage did not enhance speech complexity and accuracy, whereas on-line planning supported by an earlier opportunity to watch the video did, indicating a ‘meaning priority’ principle in speaking; (3) repetition enhanced speech complexity, fluency, and accuracy, suggesting that repetition is a robust way to improve speaking quality. Based on the results, an instructional model of L2 speech intervention is proposed. It argues that speech monitoring is the key to accuracy. Interventions at the speech formulation stage, which are often emphasized in pedagogy, work for accuracy only when speakers are instructed to attend to monitoring.


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