Hey Google, Let’s Write

Examining L2 Learners’ Acceptance of Automatic Speech Recognition as a Writing Tool


  • Carol Johnson Concordia University
  • Walcir Cardoso Concordia University




automatic speech recognition, L2 writing, technology acceptance model


Writing involves more than attention to form (e.g., orthography, grammar), since it requires attention to text type, content, and genre. However, most students of English as a second language (L2) tend to prioritize linguistic accuracy in their writing, to the detriment of the content of their texts. Automatic speech recognition (ASR) has the potential to mitigate this, as it reduces the cognitive burden of writing by facilitating the text input process (using a skill most humans possess—speaking), offering assistance in spelling, and allowing a focus on other aspects of the task (e.g., cohesion, content). Automatic speech recognition is not only accessible and free, but it also fulfills Chapelle’s (2001) criteria of an effective computer-assisted language learning tool (e.g., authenticity, learner fit). Despite these affordances, there is a dearth of studies examining the possible affordances of ASR for writing. This mixed methods, one-shot study examines L2 writers’ perceptions of using ASR to write using the technology acceptance model (TAM). Seventeen (N = 17) undergraduate students at a Canadian university were provided with training on Google Voice Typing (Google Docs) and carried out a series of ASR-based writing tasks over a two-hour period. In order to measure their perceptions of the target criteria, participants filled in a TAM-informed survey consisting of statements about their experience with ASR scored on a 7-point Likert scale. To further explore the participants’ perceptions, semi-structured interviews followed. Findings indicate positive perceptions of ASR’s usefulness in terms of language learning and its ease of use due to the user-friendly voice commands. This suggests that ASR has pedagogical potential, thus requiring further examination to determine its optimal use for L2 writing.

Author Biographies

  • Carol Johnson, Concordia University

    Carol Johnson is a PhD candidate in Education (specialization in Applied Linguistics) at Concordia University. Her research interests include L2 pronunciation, particularly the use of automatic speech recognition for both pedagogical and assessment purposes. She teaches university-level ESL courses and ESL teacher education courses.

  • Walcir Cardoso, Concordia University

    Walcir Cardoso is a Professor of Applied Linguistics at Concordia University. He conducts research in second language acquisition, exploring phonology, morphosyntax and vocabulary, and the effects of computer technology (e.g., clickers, text-to-speech synthesizers, automatic speech recognition) on language learning.


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How to Cite

Johnson, C., & Cardoso, W. (2024). Hey Google, Let’s Write: Examining L2 Learners’ Acceptance of Automatic Speech Recognition as a Writing Tool. CALICO Journal, 41(2), 122-145. https://doi.org/10.1558/cj.22431