Impact of creativity and control on oral production of L2 German: a closer look at production strategies

Abstract : According to the multi-competence concept (Cook 2007) it should be interesting to observe cognitive flexibility and creativity of the L2 user in an instructed learning context instead of comparing the output only with the normative description of the target language in task-based production (Housen et al. 2012). In recent years many researchers have applied the dynamic system framework to SLA research (de Bot et al. 2013; Segalowitz 2010; Larson-Freeman & Cameron 2008) where variability is considered to be the result of systems' flexibility and adaptability to the environment. Among many individual learner variables that have been explored (Dewaele 2014; Dörnyei & Kormos 2000) the cognitive factor “learner creativity” has been neglected until recently (Albert & Kormos 2011). Based on a dynamic view of language use our aim is to go beyond the description of structural characteristics of languages and investigate some effects of learner's creativity by considering the way they deal with production difficulties as an adaptive and creative process (Kormos 2006). In this study we would like to find out some characteristics of a creative learner in comparison to a less creative learner. We consider lexical innovation in lexical retrieval as an illustration of learner's ability to come up with new solutions, to take risks and to show flexibility, thus as a result of his creativity. Twenty L1 French university students of L2 German with an average level of B2 were shown 30 sets of 2-line drawings and asked to explicit the differences between the two drawings. Based on the criteria of “lexical innovation” we distinguished two groups of learners. We compared their results with respect to accuracy (error analysis), L1 code-switching, control activities observed through self-repair and on-line meta-comments. Our hypothesis is that, when facing difficulties, creative learners will rely more on L2 based strategies (e.g., loan word creation) than on L1 based strategies (code-switching). Moreover, they will use more on-line meta-comments and self-repairs and they will probably produce more errors to maintain creative fluency by using flexibility, imagination and risk taking. Preliminary results show that creative learners use all kinds of possibilities to maintain fluency in oral speech production. They create words in L2 and correlatively use code switches. Indeed, a creative L2 speaker will use all possibilities to maintain communication. They also produce far more meta-comments and self-repair (creative learners are able to correct themselves significantly more) than less creative learners. More creative learners control more and show more productivity which confirms previous results of Albert & Kormos (2011). These first results promote learner creativity as an important variable in the analysis of L2 speech production which therefore must be considered as a dynamic process and cannot be observed only via proficiency tests. Also these results question the role of code-switching which is not always well accepted in instructed learning even though it seems facilitating in language interaction. Further studies could help to better understand the learner's creativity as a part of cognitive flexibility.
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Poster communications
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https://hal-univ-tlse2.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02164706
Contributor : Vanda Marijanovic <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, June 25, 2019 - 12:04:51 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, July 10, 2019 - 1:12:50 AM

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Angelika Krönert, Vanda Marijanovic, Jean-François Camps. Impact of creativity and control on oral production of L2 German: a closer look at production strategies. 25th European Second Language Association Conference (EUROSLA 25), Aug 2015, Aix-en-Provence, France. ⟨hal-02164706⟩

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