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Volume 12 Number 2, Summer 2015, Pages 1-154   

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The Effects of Task Modality and Type on Korean EFL Learners' Interactions

    Chewon Lim, Jin-Hwa Lee

Exploring ways to use mobile chatting as a viable tool for interaction in EFL settings, this study investigated whether and how task modality (face-to-face conversations vs. mobile chatting) and task type (convergent vs. divergent task) affect L2 English interactions. Sixteen Korean college students participated in this study. Half of them performed convergent decision-making tasks, once in face-to-face (F2F) interaction and once in text-based interaction using a mobile social software (Kakao Talk). The other half performed divergent opinion-exchange tasks in the two modes. Their recorded F2F conversations and mobile chatting scripts were collected and analyzed in terms of interactional patterns including task completion time, number of words, number of turns, and occurrence of meaning negotiation devices. Also pre- and post-questionnaires were implemented to investigate the participants' background and perceptions on task performance under the different modes. The results overall confirmed the effects of both modality and task type on interactional modifications. The participants used more meaning negotiation devices in the F2F mode and on convergent tasks. Yet, they perceived mobile chatting as easier to perform a task, although they still preferred F2F. Based on the results, this study discusses both challenges and benefits of mobile-interaction for L2 learning.

Keywords: mobile chatting, mobile-assisted language learning (MALL), interaction hypothesis, task type, meaning negotiation