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Complexity and Fluency Indicators of “Good” Speakers

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Robert W. Long III, Kyushu Institute of Technology

Although researchers have tried different ways of explaining the concept of fluency, few have examined speakers with different TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication) scores and specifically described the similarities and differences in their fluency. An overreliance on TOEIC scores and other testing measures masks problems related to language use and production. This study was aimed at identifying similarities and differences in the fluency of speakers within one range of TOEIC scores (683-793) using four kinds of discourse tasks. Fluency indicators were consistent for both monologues and dialogues except for fluency rates and pause frequencies. Syntactic complexity was found to be twice as high in dialogues as in monologues. As for dysfluency, articulation rates were consistent for most speakers, whereas a significant variation in the percentage of silence was noted, ranging from 16.0% to 44.7%. Information regarding how to improve fluency in the classroom is given.

研究者は流暢さという概念の説明を様々に行ってきたが、TOEICのスコアと特に流暢さについての類似点と相違点で話し手を調べるという研究はほとんど行われたことはない。TOEICスコアやそれ以外のテストの方法に過度に依存することは言語の使用と発話に関する問題を隠すことになりかねない。今回の研究は、4種類の談話の課題を使用して、TOEICスコアの(683-793)の間の一つの領域内で、話し手の流暢さの類似点と相違点を追求しようとするものだ。得られたデータから、流暢さの指針(indicators)は流暢さの比率(fluency rates)とポーズの頻度を除いて、モノローグ(独白)と発話の両方のモードで矛盾がないことが示された。統語的な複雑度(syntactic complexity)は、モノローグに比べて、発話のほうが2倍も高いことが分かった。失流暢については、沈黙度(silence)が16%から44.7%にまで及ぶなど有意義な相違点が見られるものの、ろれつ度(音声明瞭度)(articulation rates)は大半の発話者について矛盾はなかった。後半部で教室において流暢さを向上させる為の情報が提供される。

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