Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-59b7f5684b-npccv Total loading time: 0.469 Render date: 2022-10-03T15:24:43.367Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "displayNetworkTab": true, "displayNetworkMapGraph": true, "useSa": true } hasContentIssue true

Acoustic characteristics and learner profiles of low-, mid- and high-level second language fluency

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 February 2018

KAZUYA SAITO*
Affiliation:
Birkbeck, University of London
MELTEM ILKAN
Affiliation:
Birkbeck, University of London
VIKTORIA MAGNE
Affiliation:
University of West London
MAI NGOC TRAN
Affiliation:
Birkbeck, University of London
SHUNGO SUZUKI
Affiliation:
Lancaster University
*
ADDRESS FOR CORRESPONDENCE Kazuya Saito, Department of Applied Linguistics and Communication, Room 334, Birkbeck, University of London, 25 Russell Square, London, United KingdomWC1B 5DQ. E-mail: k.saito@bbk.ac.uk

Abstract

In the context of 90 adult Japanese learners of English with diverse second language experience and 10 native speakers, this study examined the linguistic characteristics and learner profiles of low-, mid- and high-level fluency performance. The participants’ spontaneous speech samples were initially rated by 10 native listeners for global fluency on a 9-point scale (1 = dysfluent, 9 = very fluent), and then divided into four proficiency groups via cluster analyses: low (n = 29), mid (n = 30), high (n = 31), and native (n = 10). Next, the data set was analyzed for the number of pauses within/between clauses, articulation rate, and the frequency of repetitions/self-corrections. According to the results of a series of analyses of variance, the frequency of final-clause pauses differentiated low- and mid-level fluency performance; the number of mid-clause pauses differentiated mid- and high-level performance; and articulation rate differentiated high-level and nativelike performance. The analyses also found that the participants’ second language fluency was significantly associated with their length of residence profiles (0–18 years), but not with their age of arrival profiles (19–40 years).

Type
Original Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2018 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

REFERENCES

Abrahamsson, N., & Hyltenstam, K. (2008). The robustness of aptitude effects in near-native second language acquisition. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 30, 481509. doi:10.1017/S027226310808073XCrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ahmadian, M. J., & Tavakoli, M. (2011). The effects of simultaneous use of careful online planning and task repetition on accuracy, complexity, and fluency in EFL learners’ oral production. Language Teaching Research, 15, 3559. doi:10.1177/1362168810383329CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Baker, W. (2010). Effects of age and experience on the production of English word-final stops by Korean speakers. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 13, 263278. doi:10.1017/S136672890999006XCrossRefGoogle Scholar
Best, C., & Tyler, M. (2007). Nonnative and second-language speech perception. In Bohn, O.-S. & Munro, M. J. (Eds.), Language experience in second language speech learning: In honour of James Emil Flege (pp. 1334). Amsterdam: Benjamins.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Birdsong, D. (2006). Age and second language acquisition and processing: A selective overview. Language Learning, 56, 949. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9922.2006.00353.xCrossRefGoogle Scholar
Boersma, D., & Weenink, P. (2012). Praat: Doing phonetics by computer. Version 5.3.14. Retrieved from http://www.praat.orgGoogle Scholar
Bosker, H. R., Pinget, A.-F., Quene, H., Sanders, T., & de Jong, N. H. (2013). What makes speech sound fluent? The contributions of pauses, speed and repairs. Language Testing, 30, 159175. doi:10.1177/0265532212455394CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bundgaard-Nielsen, R., Best, C., & Tyler, M. (2011). Vocabulary size is associated with second-language vowel perception performance in adult learners. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 33, 433461. doi:10.1017/S0272263111000040CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Chambers, F. (1997). What do we mean by fluency? System, 25, 535544. doi:10.1016/S0346-251X(97)00046-8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cucchiarini, C., Strik, H., & Boves, L. (2000). Quantitative assessment of second language learners’ fluency by means of automatic speech recognition technology. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 107, 989999. doi:10.1121/1.428279CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
de Jong, N. H. (2016). Predicting pauses in L1 and L2 speech: The effects of utterance boundaries and word frequency. International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, 54, 113132. doi:10.1515/iral-2016-9993CrossRefGoogle Scholar
de Jong, N. H., Groenhout, R., Schoonen, R., & Hulstijn, J. H. (2015). Second language fluency: Speaking style or proficiency? Correcting measures of second language fluency for first language behavior. Applied Psycholinguistics, 36, 223243. doi:10.1017/S0142716413000210CrossRefGoogle Scholar
de Jong, N. H., Steinel, M. P., Florijn, A. F., Schoonen, R., & Hulstijn, J. H. (2012). Facets of speaking proficiency. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 34, 534. doi:10.1017/S0272263111000489CrossRefGoogle Scholar
DeKeyser, R. M. (2013). Age effects in second language learning: Stepping stones toward better understanding. Language Learning, 63, 5267. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9922.2012.00737.xCrossRefGoogle Scholar
Derwing, T. M., & Munro, M. J. (2013). The development of L2 oral language skills in two L1 groups: A 7-year study. Language Learning, 63, 163185. doi:10.1111/lang.12000CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Derwing, T. M., Munro, M. J., Thomson, R. I., & Rossiter, M. J. (2009). The relationship between L1 fluency and L2 fluency development. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 31, 533557. doi:10.1017/S0272263109990015CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Derwing, T. M., Rossiter, M. J., Munro, M. J., & Thomson, R. I. (2004). L2 fluency: Judgments on different tasks. Language Learning, 54, 655679.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dewaele, J.-M., & Furnham, A. (2000). Personality and speech production: A pilot study of second language learners. Personality and Individual Differences, 28, 355365. doi:10.1016/S0191-8869(99)00106-3CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Flege, J. E. (2016). The role of phonetic category formation in second language speech acquisition. Paper presented at the 8th International Conference on Second Language Speech, Aarhus University, Denmark.Google Scholar
Flege, J. E., Bohn, O.-S., & Jang, S. (1997). Effects of experience on non-native speakers’ production and perception of English vowels. Journal of Phonetics, 25, 437470. doi:10.1006/jpho.1997.0052CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Flege, J. E., & Fletcher, K. L. (1992). Speaker and listener effects on degree of perceived foreign accent. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 91, 370389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Flege, J. E., & Liu, S. (2001). The effect of experience on adults’ acquisition of a second language. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 23, 527552.Google Scholar
Flege, J. E., Munro, M. J., & MacKay, I. R. A. (1995). Factors affecting strength of perceived foreign accent in a second language. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 97, 31253134. doi:10.1121/1.413041CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Foster, P., Tonkyn, A., & Wigglesworth, G. (2000). Measuring spoken language: A unit for all reasons. Applied Linguistics, 21, 354375. doi:10.1093/applin/21.3.354CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Foster, P., & Skehan, P. (1996). The influence of planning and task type on second language performance. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 18, 299323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Götz, S. (2013). Fluency in native and nonnative English speech. Amsterdam: Benjamins.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Granena, G., & Long, M. H. (2013). Age of onset, length of residence, language aptitude, and ultimate L2 attainment in three linguistic domains. Second Language Research, 29, 311343. doi:10.1177/0267658312461497CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Higgs, T., & Clifford, R. (1982). The push towards communication. In Higgs, T. (Ed.), Curriculum, competence, and the foreign language teacher (pp. 5779). Skokie, IL: National Textbook Company.Google Scholar
Isaacs, T., & Trofimovich, P. (2012). Deconstructing comprehensibility. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 34, 475505. doi:10.1017/S0272263112000150CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jenkins, J. (2014). English as a lingua franca in the international university: The politics of academic English language policy. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.Google Scholar
Kormos, J. (1999). The effect of speaker variables on the self-correction behaviour of L2 learners. System, 27, 207221. doi:10.1016/S0346-251X(99)00017-2CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kormos, J. (2006). Speech production and second language acquisition. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
Kormos, J., & Dénes, M. (2004). Exploring measures and perceptions of fluency in the speech of second language learners. System, 32, 145164. doi:10.1016/j.system.2004.01.001CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lahmann, C., Steinkrauss, R., & Schmid, M. S. (2016). Factors affecting grammatical and lexical complexity of long-term L2 speakers’ oral proficiency. Language Learning, 66, 354385. doi:10.1111/lang.12151CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lahmann, C., Steinkrauss, R., & Schmid, M. S. (2017). Speed, breakdown, and repair: An investigation of fluency in long-term second-language speakers of English. International Journal of Bilingualism, 21, 228242. doi:10.1177/1367006915613162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lambert, C., Kormos, J., & Minn, D. (2017). Task repetition and second language speech processing. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 39, 167196. doi:10.1017/S0272263116000085CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Marsden, E., Mackey, A., & Plonsky, L. (2016). The IRIS Repository: Advancing research practice and methodology. In Mackey, A. & Marsden, E. (Eds.), Advancing methodology and practice: The IRIS Repository of Instruments for Research into Second Languages (pp. 121). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
Munro, M., & Mann, V. (2005). Age of immersion as a predictor of foreign accent. Applied Psycholinguistics, 26, 311341. doi:10.1017/S0142716405050198CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Munro, M. J., & Derwing, T. M. (2008). Segmental acquisition in adult ESL learners: A longitudinal study of vowel production. Language Learning, 58, 479502. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9922.2008.00448.xCrossRefGoogle Scholar
Munro, M. J., Derwing, T. M., & Saito, K. (2013). English L2 vowel acquisition over seven years. In Levis, J. & LeVelle, K. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 4th Pronunciation in Second Language Learning and Teaching Conference (pp. 112–119). Ames, IA: Iowa State University.Google Scholar
Norris, J. M., Plonsky, L., Ross, S. J., & Schoonen, R. (2015). Guidelines for reporting quantitative methods and results in primary research. Language Learning, 65, 470476. doi:10.1111/lang.12104CrossRefGoogle Scholar
O'Brien, I., Segalowitz, N., Collentine, J., & Freed, B. (2006). Phonological memory and lexical, narrative, and grammatical skills in second language oral production by adult learners. Applied Psycholinguistics, 27, 377402. doi:10.1017/S0142716406060322CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Piske, T., Mackay, I. R. A., & Flege, J. E. (2001). Factors affecting degree of foreign accent in an L2: A review. Journal of Phonetics, 29, 191215. doi:10.006/jpho.2001.0134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Prefontaine, Y., Kormos, J., & Johnson, D. E. (2016). How do utterance measures predict raters’ perceptions of fluency in French as a second language? Language Testing, 33, 5373. doi:10.1177/0265532215579530CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Révész, A., Michel, M., & Gilabert, R. (2016). Measuring cognitive task demands using dual-task methodology, subjective self-ratings, and expert judgements: A validation study. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 38, 703737. doi:10.1017/S0272263115000339CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rossiter, M. J. (2009). Perceptions of L2 fluency by native and non-native speakers of English. Canadian Modern Language Review, 65, 395412. doi:10.3138/cmlr.65.3.395CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Saito, K. (2013). Age effects on late bilingualism: The production development of /r/ by high-proficiency Japanese learners of English. Journal of Memory and Language, 69, 546562. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2013.07.003CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Saito, K. (2015). Experience effects on the development of late second language learners' oral proficiency. Language Learning, 65, 563595. doi:10.1111/lang.12120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Saito, K. (2017). Beginner, intermediate and advanced Japanese learners of English in Japan Canada, the US and the UK. Unpublished corpus of second language speech. Retrieved October 2017 from http://kazuyasaito.net/Google Scholar
Saito, K. (in press). Advanced segmental and suprasegmental acquisition. In Malovrh, P. & Benati, A. (Eds.). The handbook of advanced proficiency in second language acquisition. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
Saito, K., & Brajot, F. (2013). Scrutinizing the role of length of residence and age of acquisition in the interlanguage pronunciation development of English /r/ by late Japanese bilinguals. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 16, 847863. doi:10.1017/S1366728912000703CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Saito, K., Dewaele, J.-M., & Hanzawa, K. (2017). A longitudinal investigation of the relationship between motivation and late second language speech learning in classroom settings. Language and Speech, 60, 614632. doi:10.1177/0023830916687793CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Saito, K., & Munro, M. (2014). The early phase of /r/ production development in adult Japanese learners of English. Language and Speech, 57, 451469. doi:10.1177/0023830913513206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Segalowitz, N. (2016). Second language fluency and its underlying cognitive and social determinants. International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, 54, 7995. doi:10.1515/iral-2016-9991CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Skehan, P. (2003). Task-based instruction. Language Teaching, 36, 114. doi:10.1017/S026144480200188XCrossRefGoogle Scholar
Skehan, P. (2014). Processing perspectives on task performance. Amsterdam: Benjamins.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Spada, N., & Tomita, Y. (2010). Interactions between type of instruction and type of language feature: A meta-analysis. Language Learning, 6, 263308. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9922CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tavakoli, P., & Skehan, P. (2005). Strategic planning, task structure and performance testing. In Ellis, R. (Ed.), Planning and task performance in a second language (pp. 239277). Amsterdam: Benjamins.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Trofimovich, P., & Baker, W. (2006). Learning second language suprasegmentals: Effect of L2 experience on prosody and fluency characteristics of L2 speech. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 28, 130. doi:10.1017/S0272263106060013CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Yuan, F., & Ellis, R. (2003). The effects of pre-task planning and on-line planning on fluency, complexity and accuracy in L2 monologic oral production. Applied Linguistics, 24, 127. doi:10.1093/applin/24.1.1CrossRefGoogle Scholar
19
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Acoustic characteristics and learner profiles of low-, mid- and high-level second language fluency
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Acoustic characteristics and learner profiles of low-, mid- and high-level second language fluency
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Acoustic characteristics and learner profiles of low-, mid- and high-level second language fluency
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *