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Chinese Second Language Learners' Speaking Development During Study Abroad: Complexity, Accuracy and Fluency

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Rongrong Guo

University College Cork, Ireland



The purpose of this study was to contribute to the literature on second language oral Complexity, Accuracy, and Fluency (CAF) development by assessing English-speaking learners of Chinese during Study Abroad (SA) in China, which have rarely been investigated in an Irish context. Moreover, relationships between the CAF constructs and those between the sub-constructs impacted by Study Abroad (SA) were discussed. Data were collected from ten English-speaking undergraduates of an Irish university from two curricular oral tests during pre- and post- 10 months’ SA. Performance was elicited by topics, which were relative to the learning content when the learners were in the formal instruction context. To exhibit an in-depth evaluation of oral performance of instructed L2 Mandarin learners, fourteen CAF measures were analysed. The effects of SA on oral performance were explored by paired-samples t-tests. The results showed that the SA benefits oral gains in terms of speech fluidity, syntactic complexity (length and subordination), and lexical sophistication. Generalized from the analysis, trade-off effects are observed prevailingly between CAF constructs, while simultaneous improvements are present within CAF. This is attributable to the study abroad experience as well as the use of rehearsed monologue tasks in the study (Wright, 2020). It has shown that complexity and fluency were enhanced by pre-task planning (Skehan, 2009c; Skehan & Foster, 2001). Based on the findings, the study also provides pedagogical implications for the development of L2 Chinese oral performance in a university teaching setting.



Chinese second language learners, study abroad, complexity, accuracy and fluency (CAF)







本研究通过评估在中国留学期间英语母语者的汉语口语发展,为第二语言口语复杂性、准确性和流利性( CAF)发展的文献做出贡献。此外,本文还讨论了海外学习( SA)对 CAF 框架之间以及子框架之间关系的影响。数据来自爱尔兰一所大学 10 名学习汉语的英语为母语的本科生在 10 个月 SA 前后在与课程学习内容有关的两次口语测试的表现。数据结果表明, SA 在流利性、句法复杂性和词汇复杂性方面有利于口语习得。 CAF 结构之间普遍存在权衡效应,而 CAF内部存在同时进步的关系。这归因于被试的海外学习经历以及本研究采用的独白任务( Wright, 2020)。此任务的任务前排练提高了被试口语的复杂性和流利度( Skehan, 2001, 2009c)。本研究也为大学阶段汉语作为二语口语的发展提供了教学启示。