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29 - Working Memory and Second Language Speaking Tasks

from Part V - Bilingual Acquisition and Processing

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 July 2022

John W. Schwieter
Affiliation:
Wilfrid Laurier University
Zhisheng (Edward) Wen
Affiliation:
Hong Kong Shue Yan University
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Summary

This chapter starts by providing brief accounts of both first and second language speaking, and then surveys empirical work, measurement issues, and theory on the use of second language speaking tasks – the sort of tasks, often with real-world connections, used in communicative language classrooms to nurture second language development and performance. The main section of the chapter is concerned with the relationships between working memory and performance on such tasks. Broadly it is argued that, as yet, there are not many systematic findings relating task characteristics, working memory, and actual performance. In contrast, the conditions under which second language speaking tasks are done (such as planning opportunities, repeated tasks) do show some interesting results. Based on such research, it is argued that working memory plays more of a role in the Formulation stage of speech production. Proposals are made regarding the areas where it would be most helpful to research working memory connections with second language speaking tasks.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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