Fluent or non-fluent? that is the question: Uncovering the cognition of L2 learners whose L2 Academic fluency exceeds their L2 everyday fluency
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 19:18 authored by Rabab Ahmed Hashem
This study is based on Cummins' two-dimensional language proficiency theory and it investigates the situation of L2 learners who, in their journey to acquiring their L2 (English) through advanced schooling, have been able to develop sufficient levels of L2 academic fluency but have not been able, unfortunately, to develop comparable levels of L2 everyday fluency. The study aimed to uncover the cognitive processes such learners are engaged in and the strategies they employ when performing L2 tasks (reading, writing, listening and speaking tasks) under time-constraints in both academic and everyday contexts. A biographical questionnaire specifically designed for the study helped in the initial identification of the required participants - L2 learners whose L2 academic fluency exceeded their L2 everyday fluency. An academic/everyday English fluency measure, also specifically designed for the study, was used to verify the academic and everyday L2 fluency levels of the participants who had initially been selected using the biographical questionnaire, and stimulated recall sessions were used to help them reflect on their strategy use in both academic and everyday contexts. In academic contexts and with time-constraints, the fluent performance of the L2 learners was supported by preassembled template structures, a sufficient stock of memorised formulaic language frequently used in academic contexts, and previously memorised topic-relevant information. On the other hand, in everyday contexts and also with time-constraints, the poor non-fluent performance of the L2 learners was due to their insufficient stock of memorised formulaic language frequently used in everyday contexts, and a lack of knowledge in addition to a lack of accumulated knowledge of the vocabulary required in everyday contexts. As their reliance on memorised materials decreased, the learners found that their L2 processing was dominated by time-consuming step-by-step cognitive strategies which finally led to the deterioration of their fluency level. The study ends with a discussion of the theoretical and practical implications of the two-dimensional language proficiency proposal.