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Volume 17 Number 3, Autumn 2020, Pages 758-1157 PDF Download

An Error Analysis of L2 Writing: How Does Task Complexity Affect L2 Errors?

    Jiyong Lee

Most task-based research examined the effects of task complexity on various aspects of L2 production, and this study aims to perform an in-depth analysis of task complexity effects on error patterns observed in L2 writing in terms of morphological, lexical, syntactic, and mechanical errors. 39 learners of English carried out one written task with three levels of task complexity, operationalized as the number of elements. Results of a series of repeated-measures ANOVAs revealed that greater task complexity led to significant increases in the amount of all four error types and the numbers of morphological, lexical, and local syntactic errors per T-unit. It was also found that learners are more likely to make errors in terms of plurality, word choice, and article use when they need to mention more elements when carrying out complex tasks.

Keywords: task complexity, L2 errors, L2 writing, morphological errors, lexical errors, syntactic errors, mechanical errors