Determining proficiency of students by speed measures alone is insufficient. By using a triad of composite measures, two cohorts of low-intermediate Japanese students (N=12) were continuously analysed over one year in which a noticeable improvement in fluency occurred as a result of the inclusion of the Timed-Pair-Practice framework into the classroom. Furthermore, it was observed that certain patterns emerged in relation to speech production and the proficiency of the speaker. First, it became apparent that less proficient learners generally paused more repeatedly and had longer periods of silence (de Jong, 2016) while speakers who progressed in their fluency, increased the number of filled pauses to maintain their utterances and relied less on repeating phrases (Tavakoli et al., 2020). Second, less proficient speakers paused more frequently within-clause boundaries as they formulated their sentences (Tavakoli, 2011) while speakers who improved their speech production, naturally altered the pause location to between-clause boundaries to reflect a more native-like speech production. This would suggest an improvement in the quality as well the quantity of speech output as the students progressed. However, when compared to native speakers (N=13), there were two noticeable differences in regards to pause location. At the between-clause boundary, non-native speakers clearly paused before pronouns while native speakers paused before conjunctions. At the within-clause boundary, non-natives paused predominantly before noun phrases while native speakers paused more on adverbial phrases. To further improve fluency, this paper recommends teaching that incorporates parallel processing (Levelt, 1989) to reduce the grammatical challenges faced by the L2 speakers.
Jason Pipe, Tokyo Keizai University, Japan
Teruaki Tsushima, Tokyo Keizai University, Japan
Stream: Language Acquisition
This paper is part of the ACL2021 Conference Proceedings (View)
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