This work involves four case-studies whose aim is to investigate the nature and the use of cognitive strategies for L2-English acquisition. In particular, each case-study highlights those linguistic processes occurring in the oral English performances by Italian native speakers. The first is focused on the general English language used by students who are proficient in using their Specialised English and on the way in which they manage their skills in order to be communicatively effective. The second study analyses the cognitive strategies of meaning construction through problem solving and sense-making. The strategic behaviour is meant as a competence necessary to overcome the difficulties due to the incomplete linguistic competence and learners need to be aware if its use to fulfil communicative tasks. The third case-study has the purpose to mainly investigate if the repetition of a task has positive effects on the oral performance of L2 English learners in terms of complexity, fluency and accuracy. All the research data were obtained through the Think Aloud Technique (Cohen, Hosenfeld 1981; Ericsson, Simon 1984; Pressley, Afflerbach 1995; van Someren, Barnard, Sandberg 1994), administering different images to the samples and recording their descriptions. The last case study analyses the use of compensatory strategies in meaning construction, that is the way in which L2 learner use strategies of language use to fulfil their task. Their verbal reports were later decoded and analysed. The data obtained from each case-study can be used separately or as a whole to find common patterns of language use which are useful to trace hypotheses of language teaching and reinforcement. All the research samples were composed of students enrolled at the University of Salento and with an average of intermediate knowledge of the English language.
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