TESTING the OUTPUT HYPOTHESIS

Shinichi Izumi, Martha Bigelow, Miho Fujiwara, Sarah Fearnow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

114 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study addresses one of the functions of output proposed by Swain (1993, 1995, 1998). In particular, the activity of producing the target language may, under certain circumstances, prompt L2 learners to recognize some of their linguistic problems and bring to their attention something they need to discover about their L2. Two research questions were posed: (a) Does output promote noticing of linguistic form? and (b) Does output result in improved performance on the target form? In treatment phase 1, participants reconstructed a short passage after being exposed to it, followed by a second exposure to the same input material and a second reconstruction opportunity. In phase 2, participants wrote on given topics, followed by the presentation of a model written by a native speaker. Participants wrote a second time on the same topic. To test the noticing function of output, participants underlined parts of the sentences they thought were particularly necessary for subsequent (re)production. The control group was exposed to the same input materials but was not required to produce any output. Although phase 1 tasks resulted in noticing and immediate incorporation of the target form, the posttest performance failed to reveal their effects. In contrast, phase 2 tasks resulted in improvement on posttest 2. The results are discussed in terms of the efficacy of output in promoting noticing and learning and the conditions that may be required for output to be useful for SLA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)421-452
Number of pages32
JournalStudies in Second Language Acquisition
Volume21
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 1999
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 1999 Cambridge University Press.

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