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Title: Perception and Pronunciation in Fluency Assessment
Authors: Fulcher, Norman Glenn
Browne, Kevin
First Published: 22-Dec-2016
Number of Pieces: 19
Publisher: Multilingual Matters
Citation: Fulcher, NG;Browne, K, Perception and Pronunciation in Fluency Assessment, ed. Issacs, T. ; Trofimovich, P., 'Interfaces in second language pronunciation assessment: interdisciplinary perspectives', Multilingual Matters
Abstract: This chapter argues that any definition of the construct of fluency must include the familiarity of the listener with the entire context of an utterance. This extends to pronunciation, the intelligibility of which is an interaction between the phonological content of the utterance and the familiarity of the listener with the second language (L2) speech produced by speakers from a specific first language (L1) background. This position recognizes that successful communication is not merely a matter of efficient cognitive processing on the part of the speaker. Fluency is as much about perception as it is about performance. This is a strong theoretical stance, which can be situated within an interactionist perpective on language use in applied linguistics (and social sciences more generally). Good theory generates specific predictions that may be empirically tested. If the listener is critical to the construct, we would expect to discover two facts. Firstly, that variation in listener familiarity with L2 speech results in changes to scores on speaking tests. Secondly, that this variation is associated with estimates of intelligibility when the speaker is kept constant. In this chapter we describe a study that investigates these two predictions. We situate the findings in the context of language testing, where variation in familiarity among raters is a cause for concern.
DOI Link: 10.21832/ISAACS6848
ISBN: 978-1-78309-683-1
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Chapter
Rights: Copyright © the authors, 2016. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Appears in Collections:Books & Book Chapters, School of Education

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