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Master of Arts (M.A.)
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This paper describes an experiment that compares the effectiveness of input-based activities and the effectiveness of meaning-focused output-based activities on L2 Chinese learners’ ability to comprehend and to produce the Chinese adverb “才 cai”. Input-based activities provide learners with the opportunity to be exposed and work with the target language input. During input-based activities, learners are expected to turn the target language they read or hear into the linguistic data they understand. With the assistance of such input-based activities, L2 learners are likely to develop an implicit language system to internalize the target language and further acquire the language. Output-based activities provide L2 learners with the opportunity to produce the target language, in both writing and speaking. With the assistance of output-based activities, learners are able to find the gap between their language and the target language. During output-based activities, learners are also able to test their hypothesis, to reinforce positive evidence and revise negative evidence in their language. In the present study, participants (N=41) were assigned to three groups: input-based group (participants were engaged in input-based activities after the teacher’s lecture to practice the target form), output-based group (participants were engaged in output-based activities after the teacher’s lecture to practice the target form), and control group (participants were not engaged in any interactive activities after the teacher’s lecture). Participants’ performances were measured by reading comprehension, listening comprehension, writing production, and translation. A pre-test, an immediate post-test, and a delayed post-test were used to assess participants’ progresses. Results suggested that input-based activities and output-based activities led to similar amount of progress on participants’ comprehension. Meaning-focused output-based activities (activities that require learners to produce language output in a meaningful context with a communicative intent) led to greater gains than input-based activities on participants’ production.