L2 performance and context of language learning: A comparative study of learners in Tehran and London

Document Type : Original Article


London Metropolitan University, London



The importance of learning context has stirred debates in the field of second language acquisition over the past two decades since studying a second language (L2) abroad is believed to provide authentic opportunities that facilitate L2 acquisition and development. The present paper examines whether language performance of learners studying English in a formal language classroom context
at home (AH) is different from performance of learners who study English abroad (SA) where they would have to use English for a range of communicative purposes. The data for this comparative study is part of a larger corpus of L2 performance of 100 learners of English, 60 in Tehran and 40 in London, on four oral narrative tasks. The two groups’ performances are compared on a range
of different measures of fluency, accuracy, syntactic complexity and lexical diversity. The results of the analyses indicate that learners in the two contexts are very similar with respect to the grammatical accuracy and aspects of the oral fluency of their performance. However, the SA group appears to have benefited from living and studying abroad in producing language of higher syntactic complexity and lexical diversity. These results have significant implications for language teaching in AH contexts.