Investigating L2 performance in text chat

Shannon Sauro, David Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


This study examines the linguistic complexity and lexical diversity of both overt and covert L2 output produced during synchronous written computer-mediated communication, also referred to as chat. Video enhanced chatscripts produced by university learners of German (N = 23) engaged in dyadic task-based chat interaction were coded and analyzed for syntactic complexity (ratio of clauses to c-units), productive use of grammatical gender, and lexical diversity (Index of Guiraud). Results show that chat output that exhibits evidence of online planning in the form of post-production monitoring displays significantly greater linguistic complexity and lexical diversity than chat output that does not exhibit similar evidence of online planning. These findings suggest that L2 learners do appear to use the increased online (i.e. moment-by-moment) planning time afforded by chat to engage in careful production and monitoring.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)554-577
Number of pages24
JournalApplied Linguistics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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