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Effects of task complexity, glossing and working memory on L2 reading and L2 learning

Jung, J; (2017) Effects of task complexity, glossing and working memory on L2 reading and L2 learning. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Over the last few decades, task-based language teaching has inspired and propelled much research into how task complexity affects second language (L2) learners’ performance and development. To date, however, the task-based approach has mainly been researched in connection with learners’ oral and written production, while its applicability to L2 reading has largely been unattended to. In addition, only a few studies exist that have examined the effects of glossing on L2 grammatical constructions, and so far the findings have been inconclusive. To fill these gaps, this thesis intends to examine how task complexity and glossing affect L2 learners’ reading processes and comprehension, as well as their learning of target L2 constructions. Working memory capacity, which is central to both L2 reading comprehension and L2 learning, is included as a moderating variable. The present thesis consists of three studies. The first two studies report experiments that investigated how task complexity and glossing affect L2 English reading comprehension and the learning of English unaccusative verbs and ten pseudo-word items by Korean adult learners. The participants’ working memory capacity was also measured in order to examine if they moderated the effects of task complexity and glossing. The results of mixed-effects modelling revealed that task complexity and glossing had differential effects on learners' development in their knowledge of target L2 constructions, depending on the level of task manipulation (i.e., discourse level vs sentence level). L2 reading comprehension scores, however, were not influenced by either task complexity or glossing. Although working memory was found to moderate some of the relationships among the variables, no clear patterns emerged. The third study employed eye-tracking technology to explore cognitive processes during task-based reading performance and validate task-complexity manipulation. By triangulating eye-movement data with simulated recall protocols, it was found that reading processes were considerably influenced by task complexity.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Effects of task complexity, glossing and working memory on L2 reading and L2 learning
Event: University College London
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: Task-based language teaching, Second language reading, Glossing, Second language acquisition, Eye-tracking, Stimulated recall, Task complexity, Noticing
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1542454
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