L2 and L1 repairs : Speech production in a comparative perspective

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Engelska institutionen

Abstract: I investigated and compared L2 and L1 speech errors and repairs. A speech error may be defined as a linguistic item that is partially or wholly articulated but disagrees with the speaker’s desired communicative intention. A self-repair usually comprises a speech error, a self-interruption, and a repair. Repairs reveal information about the speech production process and in particular about the monitoring component. Errors and repairs were collected from 24 L1 and L2 English speakers who were audio recorded while describing patterns of multi-coloured interconnected nodes. The methodology is a modified version of Levelt’s (1982; 1983) methodology in his study of L1 Dutch speakers, and his results are incorporated in the analysis section for comparison purposes. The hypothesis that L2 speakers produce more repairs than L1 speakers was confirmed. The hypothesis that they produce more lexical errors and less appropriateness errors compared to L1 speakers was confirmed in relation to the English L1 group but not in relation to Levelt’s Dutch L1 group. The hypothesis that L2 speakers leave a larger proportion of their lexical errors unrepaired was not confirmed. The significant differences in numbers and types of errors between the L1 and the L2 data may be related to Paradis’s (2009) theory of declarative knowledge and procedural competence, which entails a higher demand on attentional resources during L2 production. Data may be influenced by methodological inconsistencies, and may also be too small to generalise upon. 

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