Individual Differences in L2 Speech Performance: The Role of Working Memory Capacity and Pre-planning Tasks

Zohreh Rezaei, Omid Tabatabaei


It has been argued that individual differences in working memory capacity (WMC) yield different oral performances in terms of complexity, accuracy and fluency (CAF). The present study is thus an attempt to examine the effect of WMC on L2 speech performance and its interaction with pre-planning tasks. To this aim, a math span test based on Robert and Gibson (2002) and Salthouse and Babcock (1991), as well as two descriptive tasks were used to measure WMC of a group of 30 advanced learners of English, and their oral production respectively. ANOVA have been used to analyze the collected data. The results showed that (1) pre-task planning led to gains in fluency and accuracy but not complexity of L2 speech performance, (2) no significant interaction existed between WMC and L2 speech performance in under- planning and no-planning conditions. (3) When the group was split into low and high span regarding their WMC, no differences were found between two groups in under-planning and no-planning conditions. This suggests that WMC plays a diminishing role among advanced learners regarding their oral performance.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2015.v6n2s1p533

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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