Task Condition and L2 oral Performance: Investigating the Combined Effects of Online Planning and Immediacy

Document Type: Research Paper


Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of literature and foreign languages, Payame Noor University, Iran


Research evidence reported to date demonstrates the differential effects of manipulating second language (L2) task conditions on the resultant production as measured in terms of complexity, accuracy, and fluency. The present study was aimed at adding to the available body of findings by exploring the synergistic effects of two task condition variables, namely online planning and immediacy (± Here/Now) on L2 oral discourse. For this purpose, 60 Iranian intermediate learners of English as a foreign langue (EFL) were asked to perform the task of narrating a story based on a sequenced set of pictures under four conditions (i.e., Here/Now and pressed online planning, Here/Now and careful online planning, There/Then and pressed online planning, There/Then and careful online planning). The results of statistical analyses revealed that carefully planning speech while performing the task consistently assists complexity and accuracy, but negatively affects fluency of speech. Besides, it was observed that carrying out the same task using the past tense without contextual support (i.e., There/Then), if coupled with careful online planning, simultaneously enhances complexity and accuracy. Performing a task in Then/There also reduces fluency. Interestingly, it was also found out that the opportunity to carefully plan online while performing the task in There/Then exponentially increases complexity and accuracy with strong negative effects on fluency. Lastly, pedagogical implications of the findings are discussed regarding the contribution of task condition to directing learners’ attention and their L2 speech quality.