Investigating Language-Related Episodes during Mechanical and Meaningful Output Activities

Shirin Abadikhah

Abstract


The present study examines how EFL learners consciously reflect on their language during a set of mechanical and meaningful output activities. Thirty-six Farsi learners of English negotiated on linguistic features and completed six activities over a period of six weeks. The transcripts from the learners’ interaction were analyzed for instances of language-related episodes (LREs), their principal focus on meaning or grammar and their nature and outcome. The results showed that (1) the meaningful output activities elicited significantly more LREs than did the mechanical output activities, (2) while approximately half of the LREs in the meaningful activities focused on lexis and meaning, the majority of LREs in the mechanical activities were directed towards grammatical forms and a small portion was focused on meaning, (3) the two output groups differed significantly in the continuous and correctly solved episodes. The study provides support on the effectiveness of collaborative output activities in pushing learners to verbalize their internal linguistic processing and focusing their attention on a wide range of linguistic features.


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International Journal of English Linguistics   ISSN 1923-869X (Print)   ISSN 1923-8703 (Online)

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