The Effects Of Interactionally Modified English Language Essay

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

In recent years, researchers and teachers have shown an increasing interest in interpersonal interaction as a fundamental requirement of second language acquisition. Interaction deals with different factors affect the quality and quantity of the communication generated, and the amount and type of negotiation (Nunan, as cited in Williams & Burden 2000). A recurring theme in the L2 profession literature is that meaningful interaction increases the possibility of greater amount of input becoming available, thus considerably enhancing the opportunities for the activation of fundamental processes that are essential to L2 development (Kumaravadivelu, 1991). The recent experimental studied conducted by Swain and Lapkin (1998) are in line with this theme. Ellis (1988) also states that classroom second language development can be successful when a teacher not only provides an input with X features of a target language, but when the reciprocal interaction occurs as well. In addition, it is not enough to look at input and frequency of the use of a particular structure; the important thing is the place of interaction itself (Hatch, 1978). In the context of negotiation of meaning, Long (1996) makes a distinction between modified input and modified interaction. The former involves modifications of language input that has short phrases and sentences, fewer embeddings and greater repetition of nouns and verbs, while the latter involves modifications of the conversational structure that has considerable number of comprehension checks, confirmation checks, and clarification requests. Although interactional modifications do occur in day-to-day conversations among native speakers of language, studies show (see Gass, 1997) that they occur to great degree in conversations between native speakers with equal language competence, such as between native speakers and non-native speakers on different aspects of language learning from accuracy to fluency. Many studies had been conducted in this area. Research on learners' output is fairly new because, traditionally, output has been treated as a final outcome of what has already been learned, and not as a source of learning itself. The precise role learner output plays in L2 development is as yet undetermined. Recent researches on output confirm the importance of them on learners' language learning (Pica, Holliday, Lewis and Morgenthaler, 1989). Although all of these researches address the learner output, none of them concerned with the process of modification which proved to be useful in input (Gass, 1997).

Literature review

Comprehensible output came from Merrill Swain (1985) who suggested that, while comprehensible input and negotiated interaction are essential, what she called comprehensible output is equally important (swain, cited in Kumaravadivelu, 1991) Whereas Krashen took the position that comprehensible input is a necessary condition for SLA, Swain (1985, p. 249) proposed the 'Comprehensible Output Hypothesis', arguing that comprehensible input is insufficient for successful SLA, and that learners must also be given the opportunity to produce compressible output. According to Swain (1985, p. 252), the role of output is "to provide opportunities for contextualized, meaningful use, to test out hypothesis about the target language, and to move the learner from a purely semantic analysis of the language to a syntactic analysis of it."

Van den Branden (1997) studied the effects of negotiation on language learners output. The results of this study revealed the extent to which the participants interactionally modified their output during negotiations by the type of negative feedback they received, and that negotiations also had significant delayed effects. From these results Van den Branden (1997, pp. 626-627) argues that learners enhanced performance is primarily determined not by their level of language proficiency, but by the frequency of negotiation routines that they are engaged in. He emphasizes that negotiations pushes the learners' production level significantly higher. According to his claim (1997, p. 630), during negotiations learners can be pushed to the production of output that is more complete and accurate, far more than merely comprehensible.

On the other hand, Shehadeh (1999) investigated the role of NNS-NNS interaction and, more importantly, the role of self-initiation in providing opportunities for the production of comprehensible output. He examined the ability of NNSs to modify their output toward comprehensibility in the context of NS-NNS and NNS-NNS interactions and the degree to which such modified comprehensible output was other or self initiated. The results showed that most repairs were self initiated and that NNS-NNS interactions produced more other initiations and other initiated modified comprehensible outputs. He claims that the frequencies of these modified comprehensible outputs support the importance of modification toward comprehensible output as a process of SLA. In addition, he maintains that NNSs ability to accomplish self adjusted comprehensible output rather than other adjusted comprehensible output is evidence that supports Swain's claim that the comprehensible output forces the learner to move from semantic analysis of the target language to a syntactic analysis of it. From these findings, Shehadeh (1999, p. 665) suggests important pedagogical implications that "the role of L2 learner's output should be extended beyond just being a source of obtaining feedback in order to generate more comprehensible input" and that learner based adjustments (modification) should be encourage over teacher or peer based adjustments.

Statement of the problem

In spite of the increasing popularity of research on the effects of the importance of output as well as input in the process of learning, little is available on the effect of the process of modification on the specific aspect of language (i.e. accuracy and fluency). This needs to be taken into account by those who believe in task-based language teaching in which negation of meaning is of utmost importance. On the teacher's part, if they become aware of the subsequent effects of modification in the process of learning, they can play active and valuable role in helping their students to become successful learners of the target language.

Objectives and Significance of the study

Most previous studies on the area of output treated it as a general effect on learning and a few studies addressed the influence of modification in output and its effect on grammatical accuracy as one specific aspect in language learning simultaneously. To shed some light on this issue the present study investigates the effect of interactional modified output on Iranian EFL learners' grammatical accuracy. The results of this study can boost the teachers' strength in enhancing EFL learners' language competence and focus on output not as an outcome but as a source of learning.

Research Question and Hypotheses

This study is going to be conducted on the bases of the following hypotheses:

H1: interactional modified output has positive effect on EFL learners' grammatical accuracy.

H2: group interaction regarded as interactional modified output provides more opportunities than pair interaction.

H3: group interaction leads to more accurate grammatical performance than that of pair interaction.

The following research questions will be answered.

Whether interactional modified output has positive or negative effect on EFL learners' grammatical accuracy?

Whether group interaction provides quantitatively fewer opportunities than pair interaction?

3) Whether group interaction leads to more accurate grammatical performance or pair interaction gain it?



70 language learners from the same level of instruction will take part in this study.


Two parallel grammatical tests from interchange textbook 3(estimated by Alfa Cranbach) is going to be used as pre test and post test in order to measure the groups differences. In addition a group of grammatical tasks from that book is going to be used as the classroom activity.

Research design

This research will be conducted in the following ways. In order to collect data experimental method by the use of parallel grammar test will be used. In addition, after the students are given a proficiency test cited at the end of interchange book 3, they will be assigned as experimental and control groups randomly. Then both groups will be given pre-test (grammar test from the same book) to specify their level of grammatical accuracy. During the study, the experimental group is going to have group interaction over their output while the control group will have pair work instead of group work. Then the both groups will be given post-test (parallel form of pre-test) to see any variation in their performance with regard to pre-test and in relation to each other.