Você está na página 1de 17

Speaking as Mediation: A Study of L1 and L2 Text Recall Tasks Author(s): Gabriela Appel and James P.

Lantolf Source: The Modern Language Journal, Vol. 78, No. 4 (Winter, 1994), pp. 437-452 Published by: Wiley on behalf of the National Federation of Modern Language Teachers Associations Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/328583 . Accessed: 09/05/2013 09:31
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp

JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.

Wiley and National Federation of Modern Language Teachers Associations are collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to The Modern Language Journal.


This content downloaded from on Thu, 9 May 2013 09:31:40 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions


as Mediation: A Study of Speaking L1 and L2 TextRecallTasks

Department ofModern Languages and Linguistics Cornell University Ithaca, NY 14853 Email: jpl5@cornell.edu

Department ofModern Languages and Linguistics Cornell University Ithaca, NY 14853 Email: ga20@cornell.edu

IN THE SOCIOCULTURAL THEORY OF mind developed byLev S. Vygotsky (39) and his colleagues on analogy with physicaltools, language is conceived of as a symbolic tool. reasoned that much in the same way Vygotsky that physical tools mediate the relationship between humansand theworldof objects and thus endow us with the power to organize, control, and alter this world, language, as a symbolic tool, mediates human consciousness and thus imbues us withthe abilityto organize, control, and alter our mental activity. Just as linguists, discourse analysts, and ethnographers have studied how humans use language to establish social contact, to carry out social interaction, and to coordinate behavior in joint activity, analysis of the language produced by individuals when they confront cognitive tasks can referred help us understandhow,whatVygotsky to as, our higher mental processes (i. e., volunvoluntaryattention, planning,logical thought, tarymemory,and learning) are verballymediated as the tasks are engaged. In thispaper we willinvestigate how speaking functionsto mediate the cognitiveactivity of L1 and advanced L2 speakers/readersof English as theyset out to read and recall orallya narrative and an expositorytext. We will show how speaking not only mediates the subjects' attemptsto reporton whattheyunderstandfrom a text, but also how it serves as the process through which they come to comprehend a text.We thus draw a distinctionbetween speakor recall and speaking tounderstand. As ingtoreport we move through our analysis,it will become

clear thatperformancedifferences between L1 and L2 speakers/readers,at least as evidenced in the presentstudy, are not categorical.Performance depends cruciallyon the interactionof individualand taskratherthan on membership of the individual in some a prior such category, as native and non-nativespeaker or reader (8). PRIVATESPEECH AND MENTALACTIVITY Disagreeing with Piaget, who argued that egocentric speech serves no specific function and merelyreflectsan ontogeneticstage in the transition fromindividualto social speech durchildhood, ing Vygotsky proposed thategocentric speech plays a central role in the development and conduct of mental activity.Unlike Piaget's position, which saw egocentric speech as ephemeral,Vygotsky claimed thategocentric speech does not disappear, but goes under(39). ground as verbal thought,or inner speech Thus, Vygotskypostulated two "macrofunctions" (21: p. 238) of speech-one interpersonal and the otherintrapersonal. While recognizing that the primaryfunction of speech is he argued thatspeech also has communicative, an equally important secondary,cognitivefunction (secondary,only because it is ontogeneticallylater than, and cruciallyderived from,the primaryfunction). as children develop According to Vygotsky, towardadult formsof highermental processes, speaking activity expands beyond its social, into include the intraperfunction, terpersonal sonal functionof communicatingwith the self for the purpose of mediating mental behavior. In the initial stages of this development,egocentricspeech maintainsits social or communicative form,but takes on a psychologicalfunction. Thus, children often ask themselves questions about what it is theyare doing and

TheModern 78, iv (1994) Language Journal, 0026-7902/94/437-452 $1.50/0 ?1994 TheModern Language Journal

This content downloaded from on Thu, 9 May 2013 09:31:40 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

438 then answer these questions. Eventually,the physicalproperties of egocentric speech begin to change as its mental function becomes increasingly prominent: In thebeginning, in egocentric speechis identical with structure socialspeech,butin theprocess of transformation intoinnerspeechit gradually becomesless complete and coherent as it becomes governed byan almost entirely syntax predicative ... thechildtalks he seesor hears aboutthethings or does at a given moment. As a result, he tends to leaveout thesubject and all words connected with hisspeechmore andmore until it,condensing only are left.(39: p. 145) predicates For Vygotsky, and predicate, as used in the subject above quotation, are not understood as referof sentences;rather, ring to formalconstituents these termsreferto semanticpropertiesof verbally mediated thought. His understandingof the distinctionbetween subjectand predicate is much more in line withwhat discourse analysts consider as the distinctionbetween givenand newinformation(42). In inner speech, words take on nuances and mergewithotherwordsso that new meanings arise within a particular speaker. In its most condensed form, inner speech is reduced to a singleword packed with meaning-a cognitive blackhole.As Wertsch's (41; 42) research shows,for example, children engaged in puzzle tasks often produce utterancessuch as "Green" ratherthan a fully syntactic utterance like "Now, I need to put the green puzzle piece above the blue puzzle in the preceding piece." The giveninformation is that the child is example engaged in a puzzle task that involves situating pieces of certain color in specific spacial relationshipsto pieces of other color. Hence, the child does not need to state the obvious (which,bythe way, includes the agent "I") as he directshimselfthroughthe himselfas task; ratherhe onlyneeds to instruct to "whatcomes next." Notice thatthe utterance mean"Green" takes on a completelydifferent task, say that of ing in the case of a different deciding which color to paint the leaves on a drawingof a tree. The emergence of egocentric speech marks the transitionfromintermentalto intramental functioningin which children appropriate the cognitivepatternsof theircultureas presented to thembyothers,usuallyparents,teachers,and older siblingsand peers. As egocentric speech undergroundas verbal thought goes completely or inner speech, children assume increasing control over mental activitythat at an earlier stage was largelyunder the control of someone

TheModern 78 (1994) Language Journal else.' However,the process does not end here. Frawleyand Lantolf (13), reflectingVygotsky's position,contend thatcognitivedevelopmentis not linear and stable but dynamicand volatile. Even though adults, by virtue of being adults, achieve linguistically mediated control-or selfregulation-over theirmental activity, theyare not autonomousfinalizedknowers, but are individuals who can, and do, recover and utilize "earlier knowingstrategiesin situationswhich cannot be dealt with by self-regulation alone" tasks (13: p. 22). Thus, in the face of difficult or adults have social, emotional), (cognitive, continuous accessto ontogeneticallyprior knowing strategiesthat allow them to maintain and It is in regain control of theirmental activity.2 such circumstances that inner speech resurfaces in the form of private as the adult speech The more attemptsto deal withthe difficulty.3 difficult the task, the more fully the inner speech is externalized as private speech; in some cases, as we will show,it oftenbetraysits interpersonaloriginsas it reemergesin its fully communicativeguise. O'Connell provides an eloquent bit of evidence taken from the early 19th-century German writer, Heinrich von Kleist,which further our pointwithregard to the function illustrates of speaking in the mediation of mental processes. Von Kleist included among his works a shortpiece entitledOn the GradualWorking Outof in the Process We One'sThoughts ofSpeaking. quote the relevantpassage as translatedbyO'Connell: Ifyouwant to understand and can'tfigsomething I would advise dear ureitoutbypondering, you, my tospeakofitto thenext friend, ingenious acquaintancewhohappens doesn'thaveto by.It certainly I havein mind. what be a bright that's fellow; hardly You'renotsupposedto askhimaboutthematter.
of all to tellhim No, quite the contrary; you are first about it yourself.(p. 132)

have arisen in the two controversies Recently, The firsthas to do literature. private speech with the segmentation of self-talkinto taskrelevantand task-irrelevant varieties. Here we assume, along with Frawleyand Lantolf (12), that all private speech produced by a speaker during the conduct of a task is task-relevant.4 claim reThe second has to do withVygotsky's the abbrevithe between correlation garding ated quality of private speech and age. This not pursue it furcerns and we will, therefore,
ther here.5 To summarize: according to Vygotskian theory, human speech has dual mediational controversy is not relevant to our present con-

This content downloaded from on Thu, 9 May 2013 09:31:40 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

andJames Gabriela Appel P. Lantolf macrofunctions-a primaryfunction,to mediand a secondary funcate our social activity, tion, to mediate our mental activity. The secondary-or private speech-function is deand develops during ontogenesisof the rivative individualduring childhood. Yet,because of its social roots, private speech tends to maintain its communicative features, even though it serves a different functionfromsocial speech. Privatespeech representsthe externalizationof what otherwisewould remain as covertmental processes (e.g., planning, remembering,learning, etc.) and emerges in the face of difficult tasks. In what follows,we undertake to show how speaking, especially in the formof private speech in an L1 or an L2, serves to mediate the mentalactivity of recallingand comprehending writtentexts. THE STUDY Twenty-eight subjectsparticipatedin Subjects. the study:fourteennative speakers of English, enrolled as undergraduate and graduate students at an American university, ages nineteen to thirty-eight; fourteenveryadvanced speakers of Englishas a foreignlanguage froma German to thirty-nine. All of university, ages twenty-one the L2 subjects had significant experience living and/or studyingin either England or the US at the time the studywas conducted. Material.One expositoryand one narrative textwere selected as the elicitationmaterialfor the study.The expositorytext, about the care and propagation of Arabian coffeeplants,contains 171wordsand 57 propositions.The narrative text,a typicalchildren's fairytale about a king, his daughter,and a prince, contains 484 wordsand 92 propositions.Both textswere presented as inconsiderate texts:there were no titles, no paragraph indentations,and no other The exgraphic clues revealingtheirstructure. pository text also did not contain a summary statementof its content.The textsare given in the appendix. Procedure. in Subjects were testedindividually two sessions in the office of one of the researchers. In each session, subjects were instructed to read the respective text carefully, since theywould be asked to recall its content were imposed. Folorally.No time restrictions lowing the self-paced reading phase, subjects put the text aside and wrote down, in a short but complete sentence, what theythought the textwas about. This macrostructure elicitation task was followed by a three-minute interview

439 conducted byone of the researchers. The intent of this procedure was to intervene between reading and recall and thus to move the subjects' attention away from the text. Following the request to recall the content of the text, subjectswere leftalone in the room to produce theirrecall protocols,whichwere tape recorded for analysislater.In the firstsession, the narrative textwas presented;two dayslater,the same procedure was followedforeach subject forthe expositorytext. Task Characteristics. Recall tasks as methtools for odological assessing the extent to which readers have comprehended a text have enjoyed considerable popularityboth in L1 and in L2 research. Their use is predicated on the fact that text comprehension and recall are closely related in the sense that what readers understandfromtexts,theycan also recall (5). Bernhardtargues cogentlyfor the use of recall measures as a viable and economical means of assessing L2 learners' comprehension of a text-both in L2 reading research as well as in and evaluation.6We rely L2 reading instruction on the well-established fact that recall does reflectcomprehension,but we also make positive use of the factthat understandinga textis not necessarilycompleted during or after reading but "may occur in response to specific task demands" (25: p. 195). One of thecharacteristics of oral recall protocols that makes them methodologicallyattractiveis thattheyare oftenmarked by a high freor whatwe referto as quency of metacomments, private speech. These verbalizations,which at firstsight may appear to be unrelated to the task of recalling the content of a text, can be quite relevant to the mediation of recall and comprehensionprocesses. Some L2 researchers have reported on the appearance of metacommentsduring written recall tasks.Lee, forexample, found thatsome of his first yearlearnersof Spanish occasionally incorporated metacomments such as "I have never seen the words in the text before" (p. 139) into theirwrittenrecalls. Similarly, Bernhardt obtained metacomments such as "I think it talks about .. ." (p. 127) or "spelling of name?" (p.136) in the writtenprotocols of subjects' recalling a business letter. Oral recall in contrast to writtenrecall, by and large,providesfora more robustmanifestation of metacomments. The greater distance between internal mental processes and their externalizationon paper is often sufficient to inhibit the writingdown of much of the meta-

This content downloaded from on Thu, 9 May 2013 09:31:40 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

440 comments.Likewise,the greaterimmediacybetween internal mental processes and their (oral) externalizationsoften results in an observable increase in metacomments. Our analysisof the Analysis ofRecallProtocols. on focuses specificphenomena which protocols we believe provide insightinto how recall and comprehension are mediated in an oral task. we willconsider thatplanningwhat Specifically, rather than internal to say may be an external process that is exhibited in specific manifestations of what an individualsays;this orientation, as we call it, is not necessarilystable, but may and result in observable formsof re-orientation, of having comindividualsmay have the illusion prehended a text,when in fact theyhave not. Evidence for these phenomena is exhibited in of speech producthe temporal characteristics rate of articulation,etc.), tion (e.g., hesitations, the actual recalled propositional contentof the text,and in the privatespeech produced during focus the task,the latterservingas the primary of the presentstudy. outward. Standard as planningturned Speaking models information regard the proprocessing duction of speech as a complex task,consisting of various subtasks organized on different levels,such as the level of discourse,the level of syntax, lexicon, morphology,and phonology. The assumption is that the formulationof an utteranceproceeds througha sequence of these stages, although some may occur in parallel. The process is classically separated into two principal parts, planning and execution (6). wantto to plan whatthey Speakers are said first their to and then plan into subsequently put say execution "uttering the segments, words, phrases, and sentences thatmake up the plan" (6: p. 224). The planning partof an utteranceis not easilyobserved; it has been certainformsof behavior, whether speech errors or interruptions in the flow of speech, which have provided a methodological tool for observingcognitive processes. For example, the temporal aspects of speech have been taken to be indicatorsof the presence of internalcognitiveactivityas individualsperformoral production tasks The theoretical assumption underlyingthe orthodox position on the relationshipbetween planning and speech production is based in large part on the early claims made by Goldman-Eisler,who hypothesized that the juxtaposition of silence versus nonsilence during was a crucial, and meaningful speech activity factor in speech production. Specifically,she proposed that periods of external inactivity

TheModern 78 (1994) Language Journal (i.e., silences) provide evidence for some form of internalactivity(i.e., the planning of an utterance). Goldman-Eisler reasoned that the "creation of new verbal constructions and structures" in contrast to "well-learned sequences" (p. 26) requires some time and that, therefore, silences,or pauses, are functionalfor the speaker in the act of generating speech. From this,it followsthat, in order to plan an utterance,silence needs to precede speaking. view of the function of This straightforward pauses in speech has been called into question byO'Connell in a challengingcritique of mainstream psycholinguistic speech production research. According to O'Connell, the essence of speakingcannot be disclosed ifthe act of speaking is primarily regarded as the transformation or translationof "somethinginner" into "something outer"; that is, the encoding of information into linguistic form. He concludes that speaking "is not the process of givinglinguistic form to the message nor translatingthoughts into sentences . . . it is a process of findingthe message by speaking (p. 182)." Our conception of speech production, along the same lines as O'Connell, also rejects the hypothesis that speaking, always and everywhere,arises from the speaker's intention to express a specific goal, whichis thenformedintoa preverbalmessage thatis encoded into a linguisticscheme or plan and finallyexecuted. We contend thatnot only can planning occur simultaneouslywith speech, but that the very activityof speaking can, in fact, be planning, or more precisely, thinking,externalized as self-directedprivate speech, the goal of which is planning what to say about a particulartopic. our point,we presentthe passage To illustrate in one taken fromthe recall pronumber given tocol of an L2 speaker on the expositorytask. 1)* a. uh [.42] the coffee plants [.64] need [.98] grow b. [.12] the coffee plants grow best with curtain c. [.16] uh [3.24] uh coffee plants grow best [1.66] d. witha temperatureof sixty:[.34] to e. seven [.48] tydegrees [.76] during the night/ f. and: [.80] seventyand more degrees during the day g. [3.30]// and: the light [.14] uh can be kept off h. by: [1.10] the direct sunlight can be kept offby

This content downloaded from on Thu, 9 May 2013 09:31:40 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

R Lantolf andJames Gabriela Appel i. [.32] by a curtain [3.30]// *In each protocol, the numbers in brackets [ ] indicate the lengthof pauses in seconds, the single slash (/)signals a risingintonation,a double slash (//) indicates a falling intonation,and a colon (:) signals a lengthened syllable. In our view,thisspeaker has comprehended the major point of the text,but has problemsrecovering the specifics.By externalizingportionsof the text, she is able to organize these into a coherent plan that eventuallyleads to her successful recoveryof one of the instructionsfor the care of coffee plants. In lines (a) and (b), the speaker externalizes part of the plan in which she firstvocalizes its elements-coffee plants and that theyneed something to grow. She also knows that the growthhas something to do with a curtain, but she clearlycannot, at this point, recall the precise proposition. She then pauses fora considerable lengthof timein line (c) and subsequentlybegins to externalize thatportion of the textwhich she does remember, namely that control of temperaturevariations is crucial to proper growth. Her utterances in lines (d) through (f), followed by the long pause at the beginning of line (g) serve to allow her to recover the information relating to her original mention of "curtain" in (b). At this point, she begins, in line (g), to generate the utterance which was the goal of her plan. Her production of the word her recall of the factthat "light" in (g) triggers at issue is the need to filterdirectsunlightwith a curtain, as given in lines (h) through (i). The second excerpt, presented in number two,which further exemplifiesspeaking as external planning, is taken from the expository recall protocol produced by an L1 subject. 2) a. those little [.64] f flowers [.30] little white b. flowersthatgrowthere [1.62] / contain the uh c. [.76] seeds [.28] of [.80] uh [.42] the plant d. [.66] / and inside these seeds [.12] are two [.84] e. are two [.58] inside these berries are two seeds f. [.14] / which are the coffeebeans [1.40] As in numberone, thisspeaker has generally understood the contentof the text and has some difficulty recallingthe precise propositionscontained in it. To overcomethisdifficulty, she begins to piece togetherthe partsof a plan, which ultimately allows her to recover the specific

441 propositionalcontenthavingto do withthe descriptionof the formationof coffee beans. As the plan unfolds,she expands and sharpensher descriptionuntil she arrivesat the factthat the coffeebeans are actuallyseeds contained within berries. It is especiallysignificant that she first refersto the berries as seeds, but, in so doing, realizes thatthisis incorrect, because the beans themselvesare, in fact, the seeds. Importantly, her utterancein (d) forcesher to abandon her a newone as evidencedbythe plan and construct and pauses seen at theend of (d) and repetitions oftheseeds as beginningof (e) and therecasting berries at the end of (e). Both numbers one and two show that when speakers essentially understood the text they read, planning turned outward and in being external led to successful,albeit effortful recall of the propositional contentof a text.Planning thereforeis directed at the task of recalling. Sometimes, however,in the absence of sufficient comprehensionof a text,a different relationshipexistsbetween speaking and recalling. In those cases, planning turnsoutwardand, aldirectedat recallingthe text, thoughultimately it is firstand foremostdirected at understanding the text. The next excerpt presentedin number three is taken from an L1 expositoryprotocol and illustrates insufficientcomprehension on the lexical level. 3) a. uh [2.68] it can be propagated [1.76] I guess that b. means: [.72] to be made anew or to [.32] to [.22] c. have new [1.10] offshoots of it [.30] uh several d. times / [.30] or any time through the year // Obviously,the word "propagate" caused some problems for this speaker. The utterance initiated withan evidentialin line (b) signalsunambiguouslythatthe speaker was not quite sure as to the meaning of the word,at least withregard to the botanical domain. Yet, crucially,he remembered the word fromthe text.At the time of reading the text,some uncertainty about the term must have occurred, not enough for him to completelyabandon the word and the connecting ideas, but enough to make it cogsalientand to trigger a carry-over of the nitively comprehensionprocess into the act of recalling the textual content. The temporal characteristics of the protocol further supportour argumentthatthe meaning of "propagate" was problematic.Not onlyis the

This content downloaded from on Thu, 9 May 2013 09:31:40 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

442 stretchin number three (b-d) preceded by a pause, but it is also interruptedat the crucial locus, namelywherethe clarificationto "I guess thatmeans:" is supposed to occur, thusindicating that the execution of the entire stretchis If the speaker,in fact,had comquite effortful. prehended this part of the textprior to speaking,an utterancesuch as thatgivenin (b) should not have occurred duringproduction.We therefore recognize its functional value for the speaker to come to know the contents of the text-a clear reflection of comprehension as mediated throughspeaking. In otherwords,in reading and attemptingto recall the text,this and endeavors speaker has lost self-regulation to regain it through speaking, specifically through instructinghimselfin what the word "propagate" mustmean. The speaker does not have a plan worked out-on the lexical levelat least, before he initiatesthe speaking process. He creates that plan, not simultaneously the act of with the act of speaking, but through speaking-speaking to himself. We next presentan extended example which more fullyillustratesour point. The protocol given in number four was produced by an L2 speaker also recalling the expositorytext: 4) a. oh dear // [1.40] uh::: [2.48] yeswithin [.80] b. each berry [.40] are two seeds // [.16] the soc. called coffeebeans: [.36] whichare very d. important for us as uh [.92] coffee: / [2.04] e. uh::: [1.40] as they are the so-called coffee f. beans // [.42] uh [7.44] unless theyare not g. [2.22] unless [.28] uh they are not [2.22] h. [.80] used or unless theyunless one is not able i. to: [.42] unless theyare not growing:/ [1.42] j. they:: [2.32] uh [.16] dear heavens [laughing] k. unless theyare not growing:/ [1.50] uh these 1. typicalclustersof:: [.58] berries / [1.52] m.the stem is growing:/ [.30] to a height of about n. [1.38] I think [.20] six foot / [.12] I don't know o. // [1.10] anyway:::// [.62] This speaker begins with an affectivemetacomment,at the beginningof line (a), followed

TheModern 78 (1994) Language Journal by substantial hesitation, indicating that she faces a problemat thispoint in the production. She clearly acknowledges having difficulties withthe text.Overcomingthe problem and recalling the next thematic focus require attention and additional concentration on remembering. The goal here may be trying to rememberportions of the text,which serves as a surrogate for real comprehension. This may be whather "yes" near the end of (a) indicates, since it is produced followinga lengthypause while she obviously attempts to remember a portion of the text. She tells herselfthat she now knowshow to startand that her search of is completed. recoveringinformation She immediatelyencounters another problem, however,beginning in the middle of (c). Again she does not know what to say next, so she resorts to repeating one of the items she remembersfrom the text (i.e., coffee). Restating or repeating text, of course, is a strategy but in which oftenserves tojog one's memory, this case, it fails to help her to retrieveadditional informationabout the berries. She begins to reproduce another portion of the text startingin line (f) and tries to establish local coherence between "berries" and "coffee beans." If we look at what mightbe called the chain in the followingdata, we obreferential it is for this speaker to deserve how difficult cide whatshe is reallytalkingabout. She moves from "berries" to "coffee beans," from "they (are not used)" and "(one is not able to)" to "they (are not growing),"and finallyto "these typical clusters of berries." The speaker does not reallyknowwhich of the two-"berries" or "coffeebeans"-is growing.From our perspective the struggle she has with disambiguating these two concepts and assigning the correct contentto each one resultsfromher not having comprehended the text originally.The point, is thatthe subject does not realize her however, lack of comprehension of the text until she is confrontedwith the task of having to recall it. She then attempts to understand the text throughspeakingabout it and is actuallyable to resolve the problem at least partially. Since textualcontentavailthere is only fragmentary able to her as she attemptsto create meaning fromwhat she has read, her production is exevidentby frequentand long effortful, tremely pauses, manyfilled pauses, prolongations,and false starts.The subject's laboring is also evident through the externalization of several metacomments: "oh dear" in line (a); "dear which heavens" in line (j), followedbylaughter,

This content downloaded from on Thu, 9 May 2013 09:31:40 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

andJames P Lantolf Gabriela Appel at this point might also alleviate some of the thathas built up trying to complete frustration the task; in line (n) "I think,"which manifests her uncertainty about what she has read and "I don't know," which confirmsthat she has not understood what she has read. Our data exhibited manyinstancesof the externalization of the planning process by both the L1 and the L2 speakers. Importantly, however,instances where speaking was directed at comprehendingthe contentof the textonlyoccurred when subjects recalled the expository and not when theyrecalled the narrativetext. We attributethis to the fact that the narrative textwas not only considerablyeasier to understand during the reading process itself,but it also facilitatedan easier recall of the eventsbecause people by and large tend to have more experience in reading and retelling events of stories. Two of the most interestingfeaOrientation. turesof the attemptsto recall the experimental texts are the orientation and re-orientation stratethat when gies speakers deployed engaging in the tasks.Orientation,in theVygotskian framework,is defined as the way individualsview an object or a task,the kind of goals theyestablish relative to the task, and the plans and means theydevise to carry the task to its completion (14). Orientation influences the strategiesan individual seeks to access in carryingout the task or in dealing withthe task as an object (14: then, it is possible for each p. 92). Potentially, individual to have a differentorientation towards the task and consequentlyto deploy differentstrategiesto accomplish the task. In experimental conditions and classroom settings, experimenter and teachers typicallygive instructions to limit the choices of orientation available to an individual. However, the mere existenceof instructions does not preclude that individuals still may interpretthe task differently from each other and from the experimenter or teacher (8). Thus, orientation becomes a critical concept in Vygotskiantheory, since it contributesto an understandingof variabilityin speakers' performances in what the experimenter mayconsider to be the same task. What is evidenced in our data are two distinct formsof orientation towardsthe task. One becomes apparent in the externalizationof a macrostructurein the protocols, the other is evidenced as story-telling. Before considering specific protocols, we need to explain briefly our use of the concept macrostructure. As defined by van Dijk (9), and van Dijk and

443 Kintsch (10), a macrostructure is thatstructure which representsthe reader's assignmentof a global semanticmeaning to a textor discourse. The formationof a macrostructure is the result of a reader havingprocessed a text,and on this basis, forminga coherent text base. Hence, a macrostructurerepresentsthe gist of the text for the reader. Since theyrepresentthe gist of texts, "true" macrostructures, in their most complete form, resemble summaries. In their most abstract form, they resemble summary statementsof texts.With regard to the psychoof macrostructures, van Dijk and logical validity Kintsch show that readers form macrostructures during reading, they form them in the absence or the presence of theirbeing explicitly stated in the text (as theywould be through forexamstatements, summaryor introductory ple), and construct macrostructureswhether theyare asked to do so or not (10: Experiments 3 and 4). According to van Dijk and Kintsch, macrostructures may fulfilla varietyof cognitivefunctionsin both comprehendingand producing a text, ranging from keeping track of the order of information in a textand deciding on the important and relevantinformation of a text, to providingstructuresthat may serve as cues when textual informationneeds to be retrieved (10: p. 195). Two pointsabout macrostructures are crucial to our analysis.The first is thatmacrostructures differpotentiallyfrom one reader to another. Reading and subsequent understanding of a textare not only influencedby the structure of the text,but also by the reader's beliefs,opinand knowledgefactors. ions, attitudes, interests, These factors are born out in whatan individual reader retainsas the gistof the text.Since macrostructures are representations of the gistof a text,theyare likelyto varyfromone reader to another. The second point pertains to one of the cognitive functions of macrostructures. WithinVygotskian theoryit is understood that the more difficulta task is for a speaker, the more likelyit is thatmacrostructures are externalized and thus appear in protocols. This was which evident,for example, in Ahmed's study, showsthatone of the wayssubjects exhibitcontrol over complex tasks (e.g., verbal puzzles) is of possible substeps by externalizingdescriptions in the solution before attemptingto solve the task itself.Thus, speakers signal outwardly how towardsthe solutheyhave oriented themselves tion to the problem. Our data also reveal that some speakers indeed externalized macrostructures and, in so

This content downloaded from on Thu, 9 May 2013 09:31:40 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

444 doing, show how they oriented themselvesto the speaking task. We begin with some examples fromthe narrativeprotocols. Those given in numbers five and six are fromL1 speakers, those in numbersseven and eight are fromL2 speakers. 5) alrightlet me see [... // thiswas a story about [ ... ] princessGrace [ ... ] who at the age of [ . . ] twenty was married to a trampbecause of her [ . . ] uh [...] [ . . ] hesitance in [ ... ] choosing a prince [...] 6) okay this:fairytale was about [ ... ] king Arnold and his daughterGrace [ . .. ] // 7) thestory [ ... ] deals about a princess[ ... ] her name was Grace [ ... ] // 8) the story [ ... ] tells about king [... ] Arnold and his daughter Example number five is probably the truest formof a macrostructure exhibited in the narrativeprotocols. It showsquite clearlywhat for the speaker is the gist of the text.Examples six througheight are far less complete, but on an abstractlevel also reflectthe essence of the text. In contrast,consider the selection of openings presented in numbers nine and ten from L1 speakers and in numberseleven and twelve fromL2 speakers: 9) once upon a time: [ ... ] there was a princess [ ... ] who could not make up her mind: [... ] about much of anything 10) Prince Arnold had a [ . . ] daughter named [... ] Grace [...]// 11) King Arnold had a youngdaughterbythe name of Grace [ ... ] // 12) once upon a time there was a king who had a verylovelydaughter [ ... ] These speakersapproached the taskof recalling In numbersnine and the textbytellingits story. twelvethe speakers use the standard fairytale opening "once upon a time;" in numbers ten and eleven the speakers directlytell what belongs to the setting.Both of these typesof openings are characteristic of storytelling. The speakers in numbersfive through seven, however,firsttell what the text is about by exterbefore theyactually nalizing a macrostructure for recall it. In otherwords,theyneed to clarify what it is that theyare going to talk themselves about beforetheytalkabout it. These twoforms of orientation, story-tellingversus story-rein relacalling, are indicativeof the difference of a task.In the case of the tiveease or difficulty narrativetext,fewerspeakers externalizedmacmore speakerswere able to tellthe rostructures,

TheModern 78 (1994) Language Journal story,and thus more speakers controlled the task. In the case of the expositorytext, however, thesituationchanged to not onlymore speakers macrostructures but also to an inexternalizing crease of variability in macrostructures. This is not surprising, given that readers usually have less developed expectancies about expository texts.Some examples, to be discussed next, are and fourteenare givenbelow.Excerptsthirteen from L2 speakers and fifteenthrough seventeen are fromLi speakers. 13) the text deals with an instructionabout growing:Arabian coffeebeans [ ... ] // 14) [coughing] the storygives a description of the [ ... ] Arabian coffeeplant [ ... // 15) well we're gonna talk about Arabian coffee plants [ ... ] // 16) the uh [ ... ] the [ ... ] paper there described [ ... ] the care in [ ... ] the instructions to take care instructions to take [ ... ] of [ ... ] the instructions care of uh [ ... ] Arabian coffeeplants 17) it's talking about Arabian coffee plants The structure produced by the subject in numraises an interesting ber thirteen pointwhenwe versionof the macrocompare it to the written structure produced bythe same subjectgivenin number eighteen. 18) This paragraph deals with the method how to growArabian coffeeplants. In numbereighteenwe observe thatthe subject describesthe topic of the textas "cofaccurately fee plants." In number thirteen,however,she statesthatthe textis about "coffeebeans." This differenceis not trivial.The source of the difference,we believe, is located in her concern over how she intends to initiate and sequence in her recall. In other the semanticinformation words, since the original text startswith information about flowers turning into berries, which contain the coffeebeans, what she really does in number thirteenis to express a macroproposition representingthe firsttopic of the text.Although this is one of the strategiesthat van Dijk and Kintsch discuss in theirmodel of thatwe textcomprehension,it is not a strategy would expect to surfaceat the startof recalling a textwhen thattextcomprises more than one topic. The differencebetween externalizinga the gistof a text) macrostructure (representing and a macroproprosition (representing one topic of the text),in our opinion, clearlyalludes



[ ...]! //

This content downloaded from on Thu, 9 May 2013 09:31:40 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

andJames P Lantolf Appel Gabriela to the pressure that the task generates in the subject. That is, in order to accomplish the task, she needs to approach it topic by topic and she has to tell herselfwhat topic she intends to recall first. The pressure of the task is also obvious in excerpt number fourteen, which exhibits the curious feature of labelling the text as a story. The speaker's writtenmacrostructure, given in number nineteen stands in sharp contrast: 19) The text describes the Arabian coffee forhow these plant and givesinstructions should be treated. plants Under the stress of having to recall the text orally,the demands of the task become more prominent, leading the speaker in numberfourteen to erroneously the expositorytext. identify In so doing, she signals overtlythat she knows something about stories, which are a simpler and more familiarformof discourse.' The Li examples given in numbers fifteen through seventeen show how difficultit is for the speakers, regardless of their native language, to establish control over the expository text. All three macrostructures exhibit odd orientations.In numberfifteen the speaker sets the stage for his reproduction of the text by assuming a situation reminiscentof a dialogic interaction.He conveysthe impressionof having a conversational partner with whom he is going to discuss plants ("well we're gonna talk about"). Such an orientationis understandable because the originsof the selfand self-directed speech are social, i.e., dialogic. One mighttry to explain the utteranceas an attemptto communicatewithsomeone, and the only potential interlocutor would have been the experimenter. From our perspective,this is an inappropriate explanation, since there was nothing particularly communicativeabout the experimental situation.The experimenter, afterall, was familiar with the text, a fact clearly known to the it is important to rememspeaker.Furthermore, ber that the researcherwas not even presentin the room at the time the recordings were made-hardly a situation conducive to dialogue. The speaker's choice of "talk about" ratherthan somethinglike "tell" is significant in this regard, since the former expression seems to imply that a dialogue is anticipated, while the latter is more indicative of a monologue. Thus, even if one were to argue thatthe speaker was perhaps aware that the researcher would-at a later point-listen to his tape recorded performance,it simply could not be as a dialogic encounter.

445 In number sixteen we observe the externalization of the on-lineplanning of a macrostructure. The text provides instructionson how to take care of Arabian coffee plants. The overall structure of this protocol exhibits traces of speech characterizedby Giv6n (17) as pragmatic and by Ochs as unplanned discourse. According to Giv6n,althoughpragmaticspeech marksthe earlystages of child language development,esor stressful situationswhen pecially in difficult thereis littletimeforinternalplanning to transpire, the speaker can, as it were, reaccess this earlier stage of linguistic development (17: p. 104). Among the traitsof pragmatic speech are repetitionsand a slow and hesitatingrate of both featuresof number sixteen. Furdelivery, Giv6n (16: p. 128) proposes a psychothermore, logical principle according to which people, whether they are in communicatively stressful to the mosturgenttask" situations,"attendfirst which for Giv6n, is to process that information which is most unpredictable, i.e. the comment of an utterance. In number sixteen, it seems clear that the topic for the speaker is the text itself.Moreoverit is interesting to note thatthe textreified as "the paper" and marked as such by his use of the deictic adverb "there." The problem, however,is what to say about it; that is, to determine the comment.We observe the process of comment formationas the speaker externalizes his inner order in an attempt to formulate a macrostructure as an organizational device for the recall that is supposed to follow.The repetitionsthatoccur are not of the topic (i.e., the text) but of those elementsthat formthe comment (i.e., instructions eventually for care of Arabian coffeeplants).8 Turning to another feature of the macrostructures given above, Wolff (p. 234) states thatthe primary reason speakersdeploy macrostructures is to compensate forbottom-up processing difficulties, presumablythe typicalcase of a nonproficientsecond language user. He further maintains thatuse of such macrostructures "is not characteristic of Li procotols," because L1 speakers do not need to presumably compensate forbottom-up processingdeficiencies. We disagree with Wolff's claim. Bol, and de Haan point out thatno matter Gresnigt, how sophisticatedone's linguisticstructures become, world knowledge "remains active on an inner levelwithinthe structure of conscious activity"(p. 63). Hence, relyingon world knowledge is an integralfeatureof meaning construction and does not only come into play when arise (3). Furlinguisticprocessing difficulties

This content downloaded from on Thu, 9 May 2013 09:31:40 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

446 thermore,Wolfflinks the type of macrostructure externalized by a speaker to the type of textto which a person is exposed. For example, ifan individualis exposed to a narrativetext,a common opening should contain referenceto one the textas a "story";ifa textis descriptive, would anticipate "description" as part of the macrostructure. Although some of our protocols conformedto Wolff's claim, othersindicate that do that subjects created macrostructures not alwaysreflectthe rhetoricalorganizationof the texttheyread. The speaker in numberfourteen identifiedthe expositorytextas a "story" and in numbersfifteenand seventeenthe subjects approached the same text as if theywere participantsin a "conversation." Once a speaker establishes an Re-orientation. orientation to the task,we cannot assume that the orientation remains stable throughoutthe and the performanceof the task.The instability maintainfor subsequentlyemployedstrategies ing controlover the taskoftenresultin whatwe call re-orientation.We will concentrateon the narrativerecall task, where re-orientationocwhen the speakers face curs most prominently problems of referenceand referenceshift.In the beggar,whom the princesshas to the story, of her father'svow,turnsout be because marry to a prince.A speakerwho intendsto be faithful line mustbe carefulnot to disclose the the story of the beggar until theveryend of true identity the narrative.In other words,it is necessaryto use the label "beggar" (or some synonym)for the characterthroughoutthe major portion of and only at the conclusion reveal him the story, as a prince. The protocols given in numbers are typicalof the proband twenty-one twenty lems encountered by the L1 speakers as they tried to recall the story. 20) a. and uh [1.42] an finallyone day: the prince said uh [.16] b. oops [.30] the uh [1.74] the uh [.48] not the prince but c. rather her husband [.54] the tramp [1.72] said uh [.40] d. todaywe're gonna tryan earn a little extra money [.64] / 21) a. uh [.20] one day the [1.0] the prince said: [.80] uh oh b. [laughing] I'm sorry the tramp [laughing] the workerthe the c. fellowsaid to: [.90] his wife [.80] uh [2.70] there's a big d. party tonight at which uh a new princessis going to be: e. honored [1.0] /

TheModern 78 (1994) Journal Language The speaker in number twenty has considerthe able difficulty finding appropriatename for as revealedbythe numberof hesithe character, tations. In addition, he has to externalize the search process (b-c). His "oops" in line (b) indicates that he thinks he has made a mistake. However,there is nothing erroneous about referringto the beggar as a prince if one simply wants to recall the text. It is, however,inapthatcan is to tell a story propriateifone's intent the plot. The speaker's be spoiled bypreviewing in re-orientinghimselfhere-i.e. to difficulty remember to keep track of the storyline-is reflected in two attemptsthat are themselves byconsiderablepausing in lines (b) interrupted and (c) to find the correctword forthe character. Moreover,the re-orientation-in this case manifestedin a lexical search-is partiallyexternalized in line (d). This small stretchis very revealingfor it indicates that the course of the search proceeds in a reversefashion,stepwise, to the correctword. First,the speaker has to tell himselfthatit is not the "prince," and then he creates an intermediate link, "husband," which aids in recovering "tramp." Thus, re-orientation caused by referential complexity is achieved through an alternating internal (pauses) and external (privatespeech) process, shows wherebythe external process specifically the utilizationof a linguisticsign leading to successfulproduction,hence to regaining control. Furthermore, the example shows that the speaker had to "frame the character" (13: p. 26). By repeatedlynaming the character,he establishescontrol over the object. The protocol given in number twenty-one similarlyshows re-orientationthrough lexical search. In line (a), the speaker,realizinghe has produced an inappropriate referentialdevice, utters "oh," similar to the "oops" in example this Unlike in number twenty, however, twenty. with word correct the finds not only speaker relativeease but verifiesthe correctnessof his endeavor (the evaluativesubfunctionof private speech), throughrepetitionof the concept, realized as a path throughthe semanticfield (i.e., "the worker," "the fellow"). In this way, the the recoveryof conspeaker assures for himself trol and coherence. From a textual point of view, however,"worker" and "fellow" do not functionas unambiguous cohesive devices for "beggar." The protocols given in numbers twenty-two were produced byL2 speakers, and twenty-three and although theyboth suggest re-orientation problems, the re-orientationis achieved with-

This content downloaded from on Thu, 9 May 2013 09:31:40 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

andJames P Lantolf Gabriela Appel out the extensive externalizations demonstratedby the Li speakers. 22) a. then afterone year [.66] that: prince b. uh that man told [.36] to: Grace / 23) a. [2.16] after that time [1.34] one the [.40] the prin [.24] b. no [.60] the tramp told [laughing] [2.10] the princess The speaker in number twenty-two easily corrects her slip; re-orientation, therefore,does not require a significant expenditure of effort. This is somewhat understandable, however, since she replaces "prince" with the superordinate word "man." It is easier to relyon generic expressionsthan to come up witha termwitha This speaker solves high degree of specificity. the problem,but can only do so by resortingto utilizationof a wordwithhigh functionalvalue. Regardlessof which lexical substitutes speakers chose, each specificlexeme has a definitefunctional value for the respectivespeaker in facilitating the re-establishment of control and maintaining the activity.What objectively,in termsof the text,appears as a falselinkof cohesion, is, forthe individual,a perfectly appropriate link. As for protocol twenty-three, aftersome apparent processing problems-indicated by the frequent and lengthypauses in line (a)-the speaker begins to utter the narrativelyinappropriate "prince." Yet,beforeshe can produce the final segment of the word [s], she realizes her slip, and corrects it with one of two synonymous terms given in the original text, namely"tramp." However,to achieve thismodification,the speaker firsttells herselfthat she has made a mistake ("no" in line b). This is followed by a pause prior to utteringthe solution to the dilemma. The search-probably through her memory of the text rather than some semanticfield containing"tramp,"unlike in the case of the L1 speakers-is relatively internal.9 quick and, most importantly, TheIllusion In the 1940sA. A. ofComprehension. Smirnov investigatedproperties of involuntary and voluntary memory, developing some of the and others had made earlier. proposalsVygotsky In explaining the role of comprehension in Smirnovdrewattention to a phememorization, nomenon whichhe described as the factthatoften times,when people attemptto learn froma text,theybelieve theyhave masteredits content afterhavingread it and they feel quite confident to reproduce it. Yet, when actuallystartingto speak, i.e. to reproduce, theyencounter problems, "although during perception or after it

447 [they] had the clear impression that no difficultieswould be metwithin reproduction"(37: p. 127). Smirnovtermedthisphenomenon "the illusion of remembering." Some recent studies on text comprehension have investigatedthe mismatchbetween a person's self-assessment of understanding a text and the objective accuracy of that understanding (19, 18, 33). Glenberg, Wilkinson,and Epstein),on analogywithperceptualillusions,created the term "illusion of knowing"to referto people's beliefs that comprehension has been attained, when in fact it has not. Although other researchers (29) have shown that people do not alwaysperformpoorlyin givinga correct assessmentof theirknowledge,overconfidence in the Li literratingsare obtained consistently ature on adult textcomprehension. We now turn to explaining some of the data in our studyin light of the concept of illusory comprehension. Examples twenty-fourand are fromLi speakers,and twenty-six twenty-five and twenty-eight are fromL2 speakers. 24) a. uh [.76] uh [.14] Arabian coffeeplants // [2.02] uh: [2.46] b. (jiyz) [2.18] uh [.30] have seeds / [.58] two of which: turn c. into [.40] two [1.20] oh inside the [.16] berries are two d. seeds / [.12] that [.44] are the coffee beans / [.52] 25) a. the Arabian coffee plant [.52] grows: [.88] oh grief [.22] b. I forgot [.30] four to six [.96] inches [1.72] uh [.70] d. oh [.74] the berries / [.34] the flowers of the Arabian e. coffee plant grow four to six inches fromthe bottom of the f. [1.52] on the bottom of the plant // [.72] those little g. [.64] fflowers[.30] littlewhiteflowers that grow there / h. [1.62] contain the uh [.76] seeds [.28] of [.80] uh [.42] i. the plant / [.66] and inside these seeds [.12] are two [.84] j. are two [.58] inside these berries are two seeds / [.14] k. which are the coffeebeans // [1.40] 26) a. uh the [.28] text describes Arabian coffee plant // [.50] b. thisplant uh [1.0] is about fourt to six inches long / c. [.38] and: [.14] uh [1.46] (coughing) [.86] the [.80]

This content downloaded from on Thu, 9 May 2013 09:31:40 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

448 d. white/ [11.] afterabout threequarters [.66] of a e. year: / [.98] uh some: [.20] red berries:: [1.64] f. uh [5.58] grow / [1.72] 27) a. during theirstate of: [.72] mature // [1.56] oh dear // b. [1.40] uh::: [2.48] yes within [.80] each berry [.40] are c. two seeds // [.16] Protocol twenty-four demonstrates rather the dramatically speaker's lack of textual comprehension and the need to externalize in order to try to understandthe text.Beforestarting to speak, the speaker had to fixate her orientation. In line (a) she does so by externalizingwhatthe textis about. Yet,thisis clearly not sufficient to enable her to begin recalling the text,so she stops and says [jiyz] in line (b), obviouslyattestingto her not knowingwhat to say,for she obviouslydid not comprehend the textat the timeof reading.The overtattemptto understandthe beginningof the textcontinues until line (c), where she thinks she knowshow to continue. The "oh," in the same line clearlyindicates the conclusion of that process, signalling thatshe now remembersone of the propositions from the original text. While the next segmentof her production proceeds relatively smoothlyby comparison, its structure shows that her attempt at producing well-formed speech is unsuccessful;it lacks coherence and is incomprehensibleto someone unfamiliarwith the original text. In number twenty-five the speaker believes she knows the informationfrom the text. She and immediately startsout fairly fluently begins in line (a). As soon as to recall the information she she produces the firstfivewords,however, realizes that,in fact,she cannot recall the exact information, as indicated by her metacomments at the end of (a) and beginning of (b). Somehow she has retained two numbers and somethingabout size, but she is missingthe apto note that propriaterelations.It is interesting this piece of informationtriggersthe recovery of the concept "berries" in line (d); again the marker "oh," which immediately precedes, reveals thatshe is able to restorea thematicfocus and continue her discourse. It is puzzling,however,that she does not elaborate on the topic; i.e., she does not fillitwithdetails, but switches focus and onlyattendsto thispart to a different ("the berries") near the end in line (j). The onlyplausible explanation is to assume thatthis stabipart of the textis indeed not sufficiently

TheModern 78 (1994) Language Journal lized for her to expand upon. The utteringof the phrase itself,however,enables her to say somethingfromthe text that she now remembers and recalls,which,when compared to the first fourlines,is renderedfluently. Indeed, she is able to recall the entire beginning of the original text. We see here a clear example of how the recoveryof one part of information from the text and its subsequent externalization functionsas a mediator to retrievesome other part of informationfrom the text, thus creatinga link between the knownand the notknown.Both protocols,therefore, representnot an attemptto report somethingbut to comprehendsomethingthat the speakers thoughtthey had understood. The two L2 protocols similarlydemonstrate the problem of not knowing what to say. In numbertwenty-six, afterexternalizingthe macrostructurein line (a), the speaker is able to produce withrelativeease whatshe thinksis the firstproposition of the text, but immediately notices thatshe does not knowhow to continue. All she remembersis an incompletetopic, "the white" ("The white what?" it may be asked). While she takes a verylong time to thinkabout whatto saynext (11 sec.), her covertplanning is of "thewhite" fortheformulation unsuccessful, is not expanded, but is, instead, abandoned in favor of some information she has retained about the growthof the red berries. The excerpt given in number twenty-seven shows a similar phenomenon. Moreover, the speaker has already produced several propositions fromthe beginning of the textwhen she realizes what she has retained fromthe text is incomplete. She signals this throughher metacomment, "oh dear" in line (a), thereby acher problem,and herobvious temknowledging poraryloss of controlover the task. Essentially, her processing proceeds covertly,although thereis a prolonged filledpause at the outsetof (b). The fact that this processing takes place and is completed could hardlybe betterdocumented than by her "yes" produced at the end of (b). She poses a question and answersit herthatshe now reself,thereby expressingovertly members something and thus knows how to continue withthe task. The illusion of comprehension clearlyis not attributableto the language backgroundof the subjects.As the examples show,both L1 and L2 speakers face the same problem of not knowing what to say but only realizing it at the time of actuallyinitiatingthe production. Many fewer utterancesreflectingincomplete knowledgeof

This content downloaded from on Thu, 9 May 2013 09:31:40 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

P Lantolf andJames Appel Gabriela the text surfaced in the narrative protocols. However, the strategy, resorted to by all speakers,was the same; the formationof an immediate subtask, in order to maintain the of speaking about the text. overall activity CONCLUSION No matterhow covertand overtprocesses alternateor are distributed, the factthatspeaking is employed as a mediating device-as predicted by Vygotskian psycholinguistic theoryshould be apparentfromthe foregoinganalysis, which shows quite clearlythat both L1 and L2 speakers deploy the same strategiesin attempting to recall and understandwrittentexts.The narrativepassage presentedfewerproblemsfor both groups than did the expositorytext,presumably because, for one thing, the subjects were able to use familiarity withtypicalWestern fairytales to help theircomprehensionprocess. It is not the recall itselfthatis significant, however. Rather,it is what we learn about comprehension fromthe recall process, or bettersaid, fromthe attemptat recall of the texts.Comprehension of written materialneed not be a process thatoccurs simultaneously withthe reading furthermore, process; understanding textual material, when it does happen, is not necessarilya covertprocess, but can be externalized as speech. It is to these issues that we address the remainder of our concluding remarks. One of the consequences of the post-modernistmovementin both the human as well as the social sciences is the recognitionof the posthatmeaning does not reside in textsper sibility se, but is created throughsome typeof readertext interaction that begins with a set of linguisticallyconstructedmarkson a piece of paper and ends with meaning created by the reader.10 The point we want to make, however, has not so much to do withthe kindof meaning thatis constructed-although thisis also a controversial issuea"-as it does withhow and when this meaning is created. Although people often do come away from the reading process with meaning, we are not convinced that failure to do so constitutes pathological behavior. Schrag (p. 85) proposes thathuman understandingand explanation are not the "mental acts of a lonely cognitivesubject," but are "conversational and communal endeavors." People can, and do, rely on each other through linguistic interaction when attemptingto make sense of, or to comprehend, the world.However, thisunderstanding through

449 communal activity does not alwaysentail a refrom the other it is often person; rather, sponse forthe individualto speak to the self sufficient via private speech for "making sense" to happen. As we know,conversationsare comprised of utterances, which,according to Bakhtin (22: p. 59-63), formthe basic unit of communicative analysis.But as we have argued, privatespeech, as a way of mediating mental activity, is also rooted comprised of utterancesontogenetically in communicative speech. In our view,all of this means thatpeople can constructmeaning from a textafterthereading process itself has ended. withothers, withthe They do thisbyconversing self in the presence of others (as the above puts it), or, quote fromVon Kleist so succinctly as in the case of our subjects,withthe selfin the presence of no one other than the self. All of these activitiesare at theircore, social. As the productionprotocolsof the expository text have shown,it is difficult to maintain that individualsunderstanda piece of textbyresorting primarilyto matching its content to some abstract knowledgepattern.Rather, pre-existing theyprocess the textbydealing withits content at the level of individual propositions, from which it followsthat the activity is determined rather than by particulars generalities,a point which has also been emphasized by Kieras. As we have seen, speakers-whether L1 or L2-try to organize the propositions into a coherent text,not necessarilyat the time of reading,but also at the time of speaking about the text. Gambrell and Koskinen reportthe resultsof a recentstudyon childrenreading theirL1 that lends support to our argumentregarding the role of speaking in text comprehension.These researchers foundthatproficient, as well as lessreaders show signifiproficient,fourth-grade cant quantitative(e.g., number of propositions recalled) and qualitative (e.g., maintenance of in reading comprehenline) improvement story sion as a resultof retellingwhat theyhad read. The authors reason that retellingprovides the opportunity for rehearsal of what was read, which in turn "adds more information to memand "allows the reader to a use more soory" phisticatedmethodof makingthe textinformation personallymeaningful"(p. 360). Engaging in the verbal reconstructionof a silentlyread discourse providesreaderswiththe opportunity to rememberand organize the textand thereby enhance theircomprehension. From the pedagogical perspective, ifcomprehension as the constructionof meaningis mediated activity, then it is essential to incorporate

This content downloaded from on Thu, 9 May 2013 09:31:40 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions


The Modern Language Journal 78 (1994) ing reading as a means of observingcomprehension as it is achieved. 7 A similarphenomenon is reportedbyFrawley and Lantolf (13: p. 29) in which children typically externalized standard beginnings of fairy tales, even though the elicitation task theyused did not suggest resemblinga fairytale. The subjects had to anything because it was the only proceed in thisway,however, way theyknewhow to open a textand establish control over the task. 8 Vygotsky claimed that private speech typically contains new (i.e., psychological predicates) rather than given information(i.e., psychologicalsubjects). showsthatVygotsky's WorkbyWertsch(42), however, position on the given/new distribution in private speech is too strong and that in fact privatespeech contains given as well as new information. frequently For an analysisof variation between pragmatic and syntactic speech in L2 performance,see (26). 9 The circumstancesunder which speakers actually externalize their inner order is a potentiallyimportant issue that requires furtherinvestigation. Mcresearch suggests the possibilityof a culCafferty's extentto which a speaker turalfactorinfluencingthe will produce privatespeech. in literary 10Scholarsworking theoryhave forsome time knownthatnarrative meaning resides neitherin the text nor in the reader but in the interactionbetween the two (32; 36). An especially powerfulillustration of how meaning is constructed in the interaction between a reader and a scientific text is offeredby Conant (pp. 38-39). At the age of twentyone, Thomas Edison managed to read Michael Fararesultingin the day's writingson electromagnetism, filformer'sinventionof an inexpensive,long-lasting ament for the light bulb. The mathematicianJames Clark Maxwell, on the other hand, afterreading the identical set of Faraday's writings,established the foundationfor the electromagnetictheoryof light. 11Is the meaning constructedby the reader more or less a reconstructionof the meaning encoded in the textby its author,or is it somethingelse? We suspect it is something else. Texts and utterances,for to the reader do not conveyinformation thatmatter, or listener. They guide the reader or listenerin creat(23: p. 308). Thus, ing meaning for himself/herself we find ourselves more in agreementwith Rommetveit, who maintains that texts and sentences do not contain meaning but meaning potentialities,which do not have semanticvalue until theyare concretized through the activityof reading or the activityof speaking.

into instructionalprograms post-reading activities that go beyond asking studentsquestions about the content of texts. These activities should engage studentsin talkingabout texts, not to ascertain if they have understood the text, but as a means of helping them to constructmeaning fromthe text. In keeping with Vygotsky's profoundopposition to the decoupfromteachingand learningactivof ling testing ities, recall tasks-as a way of understanding textsthroughspeaking- become more than an assessmentprocedure; theybecome an integral part of the learning process.

1Vygotsky the line of devel(40: p. 163) formulated opmentjust outlined as the "general law of cultural development"which he characterizedas follows,
apanyfunctionin the child's culturaldevelopment pears twice,or on twoplanes. Firstit appears on the social plane, and then on the psychologicalplane. First it appears between people as an interand thenwithinthe child as pyschologicalcategory, This is equally true an intrapsychological category. withregard to voluntary attention, logical memory, the formationof concepts,and the developmentof volition. For a fullaccount of the sociohistoricalviewof cognitive developmentsee Wertsch(41). 2 Followingtheworkof Frawley Ahmed and Lantolf, and McCafferty, among others, have provided convincing empirical evidence in support of the continuous access principle. 3 Since 1979, largely due to the influence of Wertsch (42)-who followed Flavell's earlier recommendation-vocalized, noncommunicative speech, has been knownas private speech. 4 For a fullerdiscussion of the interactionbetween privatespeech and task relevance,see (34). argued that the privatespeech of chil5 Vygotsky dren under the age of threewould be less abbreviated and more communicativein form than the private speech of children at age seven or so. While some research has supported this claim, most has not, showing instead that the abbreviation of private speech is linked to factorsother than chronological age (34). 6 Despite the general popularityof recall tasks,criticism as to their validityhas also been raised. Ballstaedt and Mandl, for example, insist that well-dea signed questions are a bettermeans of determining reader's level of text comprehension. Trabasso and Suh point out that recall measures do not allow for comprehensionbeing studied on-line,since the measure is taken after a person has read a text. In contrast,theyfavorthe use of think-aloud protocols dur-

BIBLIOGRAPHY as Cognitive 1. Ahmed, Mohammed. Speaking Regulation: A Study Activity. Problem-solving ofLI and L2 Dyadic Diss., Univ. of Delaware, Newark,1988. & Heinz Mandl. "Influ2. Ballstaedt, Steffen-Peter

This content downloaded from on Thu, 9 May 2013 09:31:40 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

GabrielaAppel and JamesP Lantolf


and Cognition11 encing the Degree of Reading ComprehenPsychology: Learning,Memory sion." Knowledge AidedInformation Ed. (1985): 702-18. Processing. E. van der Meer & J. Hoffmann.Amsterdam: 19. , Alex CherryWilkinson& WilliamEpstein. "The Illusion of Knowing: Failure in the SelfNorth-Holland,1987: 119-39. 3. Bernhardt,Elizabeth B. ReadingDevelopment in a SecAssessment of Comprehension." Memory and ond Language:Theoretical, & Classroom 10 (1982): 597-602. Empirical, Cognition Norwood, NJ:Ablex, 1991. 20. Goldman-Eisler, Frieda. Psycholinguistics. Perspectives. Experi4. Bol, Eduard, Giel Gresnigt& MarietteJ. de Haan. ments in Spontaneous London: Academic Speech. Press, 1968. "Speech Activity Theory and Reading Comprehension Assessment." The Construct 21. Hickmann,MayaE. "The Implications ofDiscourse ofLanguage Modelsto Skillsin Vygotsky's Proficiency. Applications of Psychological DevelopmentalTheory." CulEd. Ludo Verhoeven&John and Cognition: ture, Communication, PerLanguageAssessment. Vygotskian H. A. L. de Jong. Amsterdam: Ed. JamesV. Wertsch. John Benjamins, spectives. Cambridge:Cam1992: 61-70. bridge Univ.Press,1985: 236-257. 5. Bransford, 22. Holquist, Michael. Dialogism: UnBakhtin and His World. John D. Human Cognition. Learning, andRemembering. London: Routledge, 1990. Belmont,CA: Wadsderstanding worth,1979. 23. H6rmann, H. To Mean-to Understand. Problems of 6. Clark, Herbert H. & Eve V. Clark. Psychology and Semantics. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, Psychological 1981. Language.New York: Harcourt Brace Yovanovich, 1977. 24. Kieras,David. E. "Thematic Processesin the Com7. Conant,James Bryant.TwoModesofThought: MyEnprehension of Technical Prose." Understanding counters with Science and Education. New York:TriText. Ed. B. K. Britton& J. B. Black. Expository dent Press, 1964. Hillsdale, NJ:Lawrence Erlbaum, 1985: 89-107. 8. Coughlan, Peter & Patricia Duff. "Same Task, Dif25. Kintsch,Walter."InformationAccretion and ReferentActivities: duction in Text Processing: Inferences." DisAnalysisof SLA Task froman course Processes 16 (1993): 193-202. ActivityTheory Perspective." Vygotskian AptoSecond Ed. James P. 26. Lantolf, proaches LanguageResearch. James.P. & Mohammed Ahmed. "PsychoLantolf& Gabriela Appel. Norwood, NJ:Ablex, linguisticPerspectiveson InterlanguageVaria1994: 173-194. tion: A Vygotskyan in Second Analysis." Variation 9. van Dijk, Teun A. Macrostructures. An Interdisciplinary Issues.Ed. Language Acquisition: Psycholinguistic in Discourse, Susan Gass, Carol Madden, Dennis Preston & Interaction, Studyof GlobalStructures and Cognition. Hillsdale, NJ:Lawrence Erlbaum, LarrySelinker.Clevedon: MultilingualMatters, 1980. 1989: 93-108. 10. & WalterKintsch. Strategies Com27. Lee, James. E "ConstructiveProcesses Evidenced ofDiscourse Orlando, FL: Academic Press, 1983. prehension. by Early Stage Non-NativeReaders of Spanish 11. Flavell,John H. "Le langage depsychoin Comprehending an Expository Text." Hispriv." Bulletin 19 (1966): 698-701. 4 (1990): 129-48. logie panicLinguistics 12. Frawley,William & James P. Lantolf. "Private 28. McCafferty, Steven.G. "The Use of PrivateSpeech A Commentary on Speech and Self-Regulation: by Adult Second Language Learners: A Cross22 Cultural Study." ModernLanguageJournal76 Frauenglassand Diaz. Developmental Psychology (1986): 706-708. (1992): 178-89. 13. 29. Nelson, Thomas O. &John Dunlosky."When Peo&James P. Lantolf."Second Language Discourse: A Vygotskyan LinPerspective. Applied ple's Judgments of Learning (JOLs) are Ex6 (1985): 19-44. Accurate at PredictingSubsequent Reguistics tremely 14. Gal'perin, Peter Ya. "The Role of Orientation in call: The 'Delayed-JOL Effect.'" Psychological 18 (1980): 84-99. Science 2 (1991): 267-70. Thought. Soviet Psychology 15. Gambrell, L. B. & P. S. Koskinen. "Retelling and 30. Ochs, Elinor. "Planned and Unplanned Disthe Reading Comprehension of Proficientand course." Syntax andSemantics: Vol. 12.Discourse and Less-ProficientReaders." TheJournalofEducaEd. Talmy Giv6n. New York: Academic Syntax. tional Research 84 (1991): 356-62. Press, 1979: 51-80. 16. Giv6n, Talmy. "Universalsof Discourse Structure 31. O'Connell, Daniel. C. Critical onLanguage Use Essays and Second Language Acquisition." Language and Psychology. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1988. Universals and SecondLanguage Acquisition. Ed. 32. Polkinghorne,Donald. E. Narrative and the Knowing William E. Rutherford. Amsterdam: HumanSciences. John BenAlbany:State Univ.of New York jamins, 1984: 109-36. Press, 1988. . "From Discourse to Syntax:Grammaras a 17. 33. Pressley, Michael, Elizabeth S. Ghatala, Vera and Semantics: Vol 2. ProcessingStrategy." Syntax Woloshyn& Jennifer Pirie. "SometimesAdults Discourse and Syntax. Ed. TalmyGiv6n. New York: Miss the Main Idea and Do Not Realize It: ConAcademic Press, 1979: 81-112. fidence in Response to Short-Answer and 18. Glenberg,ArthurM. & William Epstein. "CalibraMultiple-Choice Comprehension Questions." tion of Comprehension." Journal Research ofExperimental 25 (1990): 232-49. Reading Quarterly

This content downloaded from on Thu, 9 May 2013 09:31:40 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions


The Modern Language Journal 78 (1994)

in his borrowed clothes. Aftera few days, the new husband told his wife the time had come 35. Rommetveit, A FrameStructure. Ragnar. On Message for them to leave the palace in order to return work fortheStudy ofLanguageand Communication. to his poor house and humble work.AftertravLondon:Wiley, 1974. for a time theyreached a lovelycountry. eling 36. Schrag,Calvin O. Communicative Praxis and the Space there were brooks, waterfall, Everywhere IndianaUniv. Press, of Subjectivity. Bloomington: orchards, and vineyards. Every time Grace 1987. asked who owned all this, her husband an37. Smirnov,Alexander A. Problems ofthePsychology of NewYork: Plenum 1973. swered "Prince Philip." At last theystopped in Press, Memory. 38. Trabasso, Tom & Soyoung Suh. "Understanding front of a littlestone house in the shadow of the Text: Coherence Achieving Explanatory Through castle wall. He told Grace thiswas theirhouse. On-LineInferences and MentalOperations in He had ajob inside the palace but since itdidn't Processes 16 (1993): WorkingMemory."Discourse paymuch he hoped she would help in providing 3-34. for the household. She could bake bread and 39. Vygotsky, Lev S. Thought and Language. Cambridge: sell it in the marketplace. For a whole year,they MIT Press, 1986. poor but happy.One eveningher 40. . "The Genesisof HigherMentalFunc- lived thisway, husband came home and said, "Tonight we tions." The Concept in Soviet ofActivity Psychology. have a chance to make some extra moneyat a Ed. JamesV. Wertsch.Armonk,NY: M. E. 1981: 144-188. Sharpe, partyin the palace to welcome a new princess. 41. Wertsch, and the SocialFormation I'll leave now, and you join me at eight. I'll be JamesV. Vygotsky of Mind. Harvard Univ. 1985. Press, Cambridge: waitingforyou at the main entrance." At eight of HumanActionand 42. . "The Regulation Grace knocked at the frontdoor. She entered theGiven-New ofPrivate Organization Speech." the hall. Everything was pitch dark. Suddenly The Development of Self-Regulation Through Private she felt a embrace and a tender kiss.A strong Ed. GailV. Zivin. NewYork: 1979: Wiley, Speech. voice she said, "Welcome instantly recognized 79-98. to your palace, Your Highness. The partyis in 43. Wolff, "SomeAssumptions Dieter. AboutSecond Studies inSec- your honor." LanguageTextComprehension." 9 ondLanguage 307-26. (Total propositions= 92) Acquisition (1987): Text Expository At the bases of their 4-to 6-inch-long,glossy APPENDIX green leaves,Arabian coffeeplantsbear clusters of sweetly interscented,3/4-inchwhiteflowers mittently throughout the year; these mature into pulpy, glistening red, 1/2-inch berries. Narrative Text Within each berry are two seeds, the "beans" Arnold had a beautiful called King daughter fromwhichcoffeeis made. Plants,whichdo not he all Grace. On her twentieth invited birthday the princes from the surrounding areas. He begin to blossom or bear fruituntil they are threeor fouryearsold, growuprightto a height wanted her to choose one of them for a husof 4 feetor more unless the tips of the stemsare band. Princess Grace was sweet and quite una of her rank. Her defor pinched off.The Arabian coffeeplant does best only person spoiled in curtain-filtered fect was that she couldn't make up her mind sunlight, nighttemperatures of 60 to 65 degrees and day temperaturesof about anything. Surrounded by twelve eager 70 degrees or higher.Keep the soil evenlymoist; to decide. suitorsshe was losingher mind trying fertilizeeverytwo weeks fromMarch to OctoThe king became so angryover her indecision, ber, monthlythe rest of the year.Try to avoid he shouted, "I'm tired of your hesitation! I swear to God I'll give you in marriage to the touching the leaves,which are thin and tender. firstman who entersthis room!" At that exact Propagate fromseeds anytime or fromcuttings of upright-growingtips. Do not attempt to moment,a tramp,who had managed to get by the guards,burstinto the hall, yelling,"I heard propagate fromcuttingsof side branches,since that!You sworeby God! The princessis mine!" they generally develop into poorly shaped The king couldn't go back on his word. The plants. (Total propositions= 57) beggar got himselfreadyfor the ceremony.Ev-

34. Private From SocialInteraction toSelf-Regulation. eryonewas surprisedto see how well he looked Speech:

Ed. Rafael M. Diaz & LauraBerk. NY: Hillsdale, Lawrence 1992. Erlbaum,

This content downloaded from on Thu, 9 May 2013 09:31:40 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions