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Spoken fluency revisited

  • Michael McCarthy (a1)
Abstract
Abstract

An important priority for the English Profile programme is to incorporate empirical evidence of the spoken language into the Common European Framework (CEFR). At present, the CEFR descriptors relating to the spoken language include references to fluency and its development as the learner moves from one level to another. This article offers a critique of the monologic bias of much of our current approach to spoken fluency. Fluency undoubtedly involves a degree of automaticity and the ability quickly to retrieve ready-made chunks of language. However, fluency also involves the ability to create flow and smoothness across turn-boundaries and can be seen as an interactive phenomenon in discourse. The article offers corpus evidence for the notion of confluence, that is the joint production of flow by more than one speaker, focusing in particular on turn-openings and closings. It considers the implications of an interactive view of fluency for pedagogy, assessment and in the broader social context.

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English Profile Journal
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