Exploring second language learners’ grammaticality judgment performance in relation to task design features

Publication Type:

Journal Article


System, Volume 72, p.215 - 225 (2018)






Grammaticality judgment tasks, Target structure difficulty, Task design features, Task modality


This paper reports on an investigation of how second language (L2) learners' grammaticality judgment task (GJT) performance varies according to time constraints, task modality, and task stimulus in relation to two target features. One hundred and twenty EFL students were asked to judge items as grammatical or ungrammatical on four computer-based GJTs – two differing along the timed/untimed dimension and two differing along the aural/written dimension. Each GJT consists of 60 items (30 grammatical and 30 ungrammatical) focusing on two grammatical features in English, the passive voice and the past progressive, which were hypothesized to differ in terms of their learning difficulty. The results indicated that time constraints, task modality and task stimulus played a significant role in affecting L2 learners’ GJT performance. Furthermore, although the learners performed better on the past progressive items, their GJT performance indicated similar patterns in relation to task design features across both target structures.