Measuring and developing second language fluency
Fluency is an important construct in the assessment of language proficiency and forms part of a large number of rating scales in various high stakes exams and in descriptors of levels of second language (L2) competence.
From a pedagogical perspective, developing students’ fluency in another language is one of the most important aims of language teaching. Previous investigations have analyzed L2 fluency primarily with learners of English as a second language. While such research has contributed significantly to our understanding of fluency in L2 English, little is known about how fluency is perceived and evaluated in L2 French despite the fact that previous cross-linguistic research has uncovered important differences between fluency phenomena in French and English. In the first part of this talk I will present a series of studies in which we investigated perceptions of what constitutes fluent L2 French speech (Préfontaine, Kormos & Johnson, 2015; Kormos & Préfontaine, in press). Our results suggest that there are important differences in the factors that influence ratings and subjective perceptions of fluency in L2 French in comparison with L2 English. In the second part of the talk I present research evidence for how teachers can assist L2 learners in developing their fluency by means of massed task- repetition.