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Researching Written Task Complexity in Diverse Contexts Abstracts
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Colloquium Organizer: Lawrence Zhang 

The Psycholinguistic, Meaning-making Nature of Writing: Implications for TBLT Theorizing
Rosa Manchon, University of Murcia, Spain

In this presentation, I shall pursue two main aims. First, I will discuss the relevance of problematizing some current theoretical positions and tenets in TBLT theorizing on account of (1) the psycholinguistic and textual, meaning-making nature of writing, and (2) the learning potential that may derive from the linguistic processing associated with these two defining characteristics of written output. Next I shall detail how this reconceptualization may apply to two central concepts in TBLT theory and research: task complexity and repetition. The second aim of the presentation is to exemplify the manner in which these theoretical reconfigurations inform a current program of research by the Universities of Murcia and Barcelona.

Recovering the Educative Agenda of ‘Tasks’: Toward a Holistic Approach to Researching L2 Development
Heidi Byrnes, Georgetown University

The construct of ‘task’ is fundamentally education-oriented. To be useful for and usable in educational settings, task-based research should therefore incorporate key educative interests and realities whose conceptualization is explicitly developmental. Among these are (1) positioning language learning as expanding resources for meaning-making; (2) linking all modalities in support of advancing L2 development in oral and written texts; and (3) incorporating programmatic/curricular and pedagogical realities as affecting L2 learning. Within this framework, the presentation will consider the implications of two aspects of current task-based research: The lack of a functional theory of language and dominant conceptualizations of task complexity.

Task and Genre Differences in L2 Writing Research
Charlene Polio, Michigan State University
Hyung-Jo Yoon, Michigan State University

Some researchers have examined how task complexity affects linguistic features of written production while others have investigated how genre affects features of writing but few have discussed both lines of research. This paper will summarize the two lines of research with a focus on operationalizations of task and genre dimensions. We discuss how these two lines of research may or may not interact and whether or not findings from research on task differences and on genre differences are related. Implications for second language acquisition and L2 writing pedagogy are discussed.

Understanding the Interplay between Languaging and Task Complexity in Foreign Language Writing
Marcela Ruiz-Funes, Georgia Southern University

This study explores the processes of languaging used by foreign language (FL) writers of Spanish at the university level as they complete two written tasks of different levels of complexity. The students' use of language to make meaning (languaging) was recorded via the track-changes feature in MS word and with stimulated-recall interviews. In addition, students completed a questionnaire on the effect of each task on their attention to linguistic production and processes of meaning making in writing. Preliminary results are reported and suggestions for future research are presented.

Intentional Reasoning and Modulating Effects of Individual Learner Factors on the Complexity of EFL Writers’ Argumentative Text
Lawrence Jun Zhang, University of Auckland, New Zealand
Muhammad Rahimi, University of Auckland, New Zealand

We report the synergistic effects of increasing numbers of elements and degrees of intentional reasoning, and the modulating effect of individual learner factors, on EFL writing within Robinson’s Triadic Componential Framework (Robinson, 2007). We recruited upper-intermediate EFL learners and asked them to write a simple and a complex argumentative essay. We also invited them to complete a multidimensional writing motivational beliefs scale and a writing anxiety questionnaire. Multiple measures were taken to capture the effects on complexity, accuracy, lexical diversity, and fluency (CALF) and the relationship between individual learner factors and CALF. Implications of the study for task-based syllabus design and writing assessment will be discussed.

Discussants:
Dr Andrea Révész, University College London, UK
Dr Roger Gilabert, University of Barcelona, Spain

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