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Exploring L2 structural convergence in peer task-based interaction

Dao, Phung and Kennedy, Sara (2018) Exploring L2 structural convergence in peer task-based interaction. University of Sydney Papers in TESOL (13). ISSN 1834-4712

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Abstract

This study explored the occurrence and characteristics of structural convergence, defined as speakers’ propensity to reuse an underlying syntactic structure to which they have been exposed in recent discourse, and its link to production accuracy in L2 unscripted task-based interactions. Twenty-two English university learners (eleven dyads) with diverse language backgrounds completed two versions of a problem-solving discussion task in two separate sessions. Their video-recorded interactions were transcribed and coded for structural convergence (occurrence, structure types and accuracy). The results showed that participants demonstrated structural convergence in unscripted L2 task-based interactions. They also converged on different structures to varying degrees across the two interaction sessions. In addition, the results also showed an association between structural convergence and production accuracy, with participants producing more correct and incorrect targets when exposed to correct and incorrect primes respectively. These results are discussed in terms of impact of the nature of task interaction on occurrence and characteristics of structural convergence, and the role of structural convergence in L2 production accuracy.

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