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Title: Working memory, aspects of oral production and self-repair behaviour in L2
Author: Georgiadou, Effrosyni S.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5358 8717
Awarding Body: University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2014
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This study explored the relationship of complex working memory (WM) and phonological short-term memory (PSTM) to aspects of second language (L2) oral production and self-repair behaviour. The study drew on Levelt's (1989; 1983) model of speech and perceptual loop theory of monitoring while the concept of WM was based on Baddeley and Hitch's (1974) multicomponent model of WM. Complex WM refers to the cognitive capacity of simultaneous storage and processing of information while PSTM refers to the capacity of the phonological store. The participants were 84 Emirati female university students learning English in an intensive language program in Abu Dhabi. It was hypothesised that given the limited automaticity of the language building processes in less advanced EFL learners, and thus the dependence of these processes on attentional resources, speakers with higher WM and PSTM scores would perform better in terms of fluency, accuracy, lexical and syntactic complexity in a task with simultaneous online planning. In addition, a relationship of WM with the number and the types of overt self-repairs was anticipated based on the attentional demands of the monitoring processes. Complex WM was measured with a backward digit span test in patticipants' Ll and a listening span test in L2. Phonological STM was measured with a simple word-recall test in L2. Statistical analysis of the data showed a relationship of complex WM with disfluency and general grammatical accuracy, while PSTM correlated significantly with speech rate, general and specific measures of grammatical accuracy as well as lexical variety. Complex WM and PSTM were also found to correlate moderately with overall oral performance scores. No statistically significant results emerged between complex WM, PSTM and number of self-repairs, but there was a significant negative correlation between PSTM and phonological error-repairs. Overall, the findings support that WM contributes to variation in L2 oral production but not overt self-repair behaviour.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available