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Book: Landmarks in CALL Research

Chapter: Developing L2 Oral Proficiency through Synchronous CMC: Output, Working Memory, and Interlanguage Development

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.28165


A naturalistic experiment was conducted to test the hypothesis that synchronous computer-mediated communication (CMC) can indirectly improve L2 oral proficiency by developing the same cognitive mechanisms underlying spontaneous conversational speech. The theoretical framework guiding this inquiry consists of Levelt’s (1989) model of language production augmented by concepts from Working Memory theory. The findings show a significant difference between the experimental and control groups oral proficiency development with participants in the experimental condition (two of four contact hours per week were in a chatroom) scoring higher than participants in the control condition. Implications for language instruction and the second language oral proficiency development for different types of learners are discussed.

Chapter Contributors

  • J. Scott Payne ( 'Middlebury College'
  • Paul J. Whitney ( 'Washington State University'