Fluent speakers – fluent interactions: on the creation of (co)-fluency in English as a lingua franca
Mauranen, Anna and Ranta, Elina (eds.)
English as a Lingua Franca: studies and findings.
Cambridge Scholars Publishing
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One of the interesting features of many English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) interactions is the extent of their perceived fluency, i.e. the degree to which listeners consider them to be instances of ‘smooth’ language performance. This contribution addresses the questions of whether fluency can become a meaningful descriptor for ELF, and if so, whether and which adaptations will be required in order to arrive at a clearer definition of fluency and to develop a suitable analytic framework. Importantly, arguments are brought forth for re-considering fluency as a characteristic of interactions rather than of individual speakers. As part of this largely theoretical investigation, two exemplary analyses from diverse sets of ELF data are presented, introducing a methodology that incorporates non-native raters. The first set of data consists of naturally occurring ELF interactions recorded in Vietnam and the second set of ELF interactions recorded in an educational setting, where ELF is used as a medium of instruction. Within this latter database, an example from the sub-group of interviews with students reflecting on their educational experience is used. This exploratory study indicates that ELF interactions can be perceived as fluent in their entirety, i.e. not only related to individual speakers, and that possibly the reason for such an interpretation is the speakers’ reliance on interactive features, including laughter, to further the creation and perception of fluency. This is seen as clear support for a view of fluency as a dialogic rather than monologic phenomenon and points towards further research possibilities.
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