The Korean Association for the Study of English Language and Linguistics

Current Issue

Korea Journal of English Language and Linguistics - Vol. 20

[ Article ]
Korea Journal of English Language and Linguistics - Vol. 20, No. 1, pp.517-540
Abbreviation: KASELL
ISSN: 1598-1398 (Print)
Print publication date 31 Mar 2020
Received 31 Jul 2020 Revised 17 Sep 2020 Accepted 23 Sep 2020
DOI: https://doi.org/10.15738/kjell.20..202009.517

An Investigation of How Task Closure and Task Complexity Affect English L2 Writing
Jiyong Lee
Konkuk University


Copyright 2020 KASELL
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to examine how task closure and task complexity interactively affect Korean L2 learners’ writing in terms of lexical diversity, syntactic complexity, and accuracy. Although there is an abundance of research on the effects of task complexity on L2 performance, little attention has been paid to the differential effects of tasks that have a predetermined solution (closed tasks) vs. those that do not have a predetermined solution (open tasks). In order to fill this gap, this study investigated the interactive effects of task closure and task complexity on L2 writing, and also employed learner self-ratings and time-on-task to measure the cognitive load of the tasks. The results revealed that task complexity had significant effects on all cognitive load measures and performance measures. Significant task closure effects were also found on all measures of L2 writing. In addition, the interaction between task complexity and task closure significantly affected the level of stress that participants felt during task performance and the accuracy of their writing.


Keywords: task closure, open tasks, closed tasks, task complexity, L2 writing, English, lexical diversity, syntactic complexity, accuracy

References
1. Cho, M. 2018. Task complexity, modality, and working memory in L2 task performance. System 72, 85-98.
2. Cobb, T. 2002. ‘Web Vocabprofile,’ available at http://www.lextutor.ca/vp/], an adaptation of Heatley and Nation’s (1994) Range. Accessed August 2020.
3. Foster, P. and P. Skehan. 1996. The influence of planning and task type on second language performance. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 18(3), 299-323.
4. Gilabert, R. 2007. The simultaneous manipulation of task complexity along planning time and (+/- Here-and-Now): Effects on L2 oral production. In M. d. P. G. Mayo, ed., Investigating Tasks in Formal Language Learning, 44-68. Tonawanda, NY: Multilingual Matters.
5. Guiraud, P. (1954). Les Charactères Statistiques du Vocabulaire. Essai de Méthodologie. Presses Universitaires de France.
6. Hunt, K. 1964. Differences in Grammatical Structures Written at Three Grade Levels (Cooperative Research Project No. 1998). Florida State University.
7. Ishikawa, T. 2007. The effect of manipulating task complexity along the (+Here-and-Now) dimension on L2 written narrative discourse. In M. d. P. G. Mayo, ed., Investigating Tasks in Formal Language Learning, 136-156. Tonawanda, NY: Multilingual Matters.
8. Johnson, M. D. 2017. Cognitive task complexity and L2 written syntactic complexity, accuracy, lexical complexity, and fluency: A research synthesis and meta-analysis. Journal of Second Language Writing 37, 13-38.
9. Jung, J. 2017. Effects of task complexity on L2 writing processes and linguistic complexity: A keystroke logging study. English Teaching 72(4), 179-201.
10. Kormos, J. 2011. Task complexity and linguistic and discourse features of narrative writing performance. Journal of Second Language Writing 20, 148–161.
11. Kormos, J., and A. Trebits. 2011. Working memory capacity and narrative task performance. In P. Robinson, ed., Second Language Task Complexity: Researching the Cognition Hypothesis of Language Learning and Performance, 267-285. Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
12. Lee, J. 2018a. The effects of task complexity and L2 proficiency on L2 written performance. The Journal of Asia TEFL 15(4), 945-958.
13. Lee, J. 2018b. The Interactive Effects of Task Complexity, Task Condition, and Cognitive Individual Differences on L2 Writing. Doctoral dissertation, University of Maryland, MD, USA.
14. Lee, J. 2019a. Task complexity, cognitive load, and L1 speech. Applied Linguistics 40(3), 506-539.
15. Lee, J. 2019b. Time-on-task as a measure of cognitive load in TBLT. The Journal of Asia TEFL 16(3), 958-969.
16. Loschky, L. and R. Bley-Vroman. 1993. Grammar and task-based methodology. In G. Crookes and S. Gass, eds., Tasks and Language Learning, 123–167. Clevedon, Avon: Multilingual Matters.
17. Long, M. H. 1989. Task, group, and task-group interactions. University of Hawai'i Working Papers in ESL 8(2), 1-26. (Reprinted in S. Anivan, ed., Language Teaching Methodology for the Nineties, 31-50, 1990, Singapore: SEAMEO.)
18. Montero, F. 2018. Effects of task complexity and task closure on the speech of L2 learners of Spanish. Ms., University of Maryland, MD, USA.
19. Pica, T. 1983. The article in American English: What the textbooks don’t tell us. In N. Wolfson and E. Judd, eds., Sociolinguistics and Language Acquisition 222-233. Rowley, MA: Newbury House.
20. Rahimi, M. and L. J. Zhang. 2019. Writing task complexity, students’ motivational beliefs, anxiety and their writing production in English as a second language. Reading and Writing 32(3), 761-786.
21. Révész, A., N. E. Kourtali and D. Mazgutova. 2017. Effects of task complexity on L2 writing behaviors and linguistic complexity. Language Learning 67(1), 208-241.
22. Révész, A., Michel, M. and R. Gilabert. 2015. Measuring cognitive task demands using dual task methodology, subjective self-ratings, and expert judgments: A validation study. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 28(4), 1-35.
23. Robinson, P. 2001. Task complexity, cognitive resources, and syllabus design: A triadic framework for examining task influences on SLA. In P. Robinson, ed., Cognition and Second Language Instruction, 287-318. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
24. Robinson, P. 2005. Cognitive complexity and task sequencing: studies in a componential framework for second language task design. International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching 43(1), 1-32.
25. Robinson, P. 2011. Second language task complexity, the cognition hypothesis, language learning, and performance. In P. Robinson, ed., Second Language Task Complexity: Researching the Cognition Hypothesis of Language Learning and Performance, 3-37. Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
26. Sasayama, S. 2016. Is a ‘complex’ task really complex? Validating the assumption of cognitive task complexity. The Modern Language Journal 100(1), 231-254.
27. Sasayama, S., Malicka, A. and J. Norris. 2015. Primary challenges in cognitive task complexity research: Results of a comprehensive research synthesis. In 6th Biennial international Conference on Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT), Leuven, Belgium.
28. Skehan, P. 1996. A framework for the implementation of task-based instruction. Applied Linguistics 17(1), 38-62.
29. Skehan, P. 2014. Processing Perspectives on Task Performance. Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Lee, Jiyong, Postdoctoral researcherDepartment of English EducationKonkuk University120 Neungdong-ro, Gwangjin-gu, Seoul, KoreaTel: 02) 450-3906Email: luvvie0123@gmail.com