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Volume 4 Number 4, Winter 2007, Pages 1-271   

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Topic Familiarity Effect on Accuracy, Complexity, and Fluency of L2 Oral Output

    Massoud Rahimpour and Fatemeh Hazar

Recent research into task-based language teaching claims that manipulation of task factors, learner factors, and task processing conditions can focus language learners' attention on the competing goals of accuracy, complexity, or fluency. The main purpose of the present study is to investigate the impact of topic familiarity on accuracy, complexity, and fluency of L2 oral output. Defining task familiarity in terms of learners' familiarity with task topic, the twenty upper-intermediate level participants of the study performed a familiar and then an unfamiliar task. The results of statistical analysis revealed that the participants produced a more accurate and more fluent, but less complex discourse in their performance of the familiar task. The findings highlight the need to consider topic familiarity as a task feature in syllabus design and materials development and the necessity of considering this task feature for accomplishing accuracy, complexity, or fluency in oral task production.

Keywords: Task-Based Language Teaching, Topic Familiarity, Interlanguage Variation, Accuracy, Complexity, Fluency