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Volume 17 Number 1, Spring 2020, Pages 1-318   

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Conditions and Tasks: The Effects of Planning and Task Complexity on L2 Speaking

    Nayoung Kim

Motivated by different notion of task criteria in the Limited Attention Capacity Hypothesis and the Cognition Hypothesis, the purpose of this study is to investigate how planning and task complexity affect second language (L2) learners' spoken performance. The study's motivation is as follows: 1) the effects of online planning (as task condition) and task complexity (as task characteristics) and their interactions were examined; and 2) instead of repeated and redundant measures for complexity, accuracy, and fluency (CAF), multi-layered CAF measure indices were used to capture a careful performance. The study's subjects were 77 undergraduates divided into four groups: no planning in simple task, no planning in complex task, online planning in simple task, and online planning in complex task. Online planning was modified from Yuan and Ellis's (2003) and Wang's (2009) studies, while task complexity was manipulated by [elements] and [reasoning]. The study employed 11 general and specific measure indices for CAF and found that no planning condition significantly enhanced overall accuracy and verb-related specific accuracy or speed and repair fluency regardless of task complexity. Meanwhile, task complexity significantly improved phrasal syntactic complexity regardless of planning. Based on these findings, the study explored two competing theories on L2 speaking.

Keywords: task condition, task characteristics, planning, task complexity, limited attention capacity hypothesis, cognition hypothesis, CAF