Talk About Mouth Speculums: Collocational Competence and Spoken Fluency in Non-Native English-Speaking University Lecturers

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Despite the large body of research into formulaic language and fluency, there seems to be a lack of empirical evidence for how collocations, often considered a subset of formulaic language, might impact on fluency. To address this problem, this dissertation examined to what extent correlations might exist between overall language proficiency, collocational competence and spoken fluency in non-native English-speaking university lecturers.
The data came from 15 20-minute mini-lectures recorded between 2009 and 2011 for an English oral proficiency test for lecturers employed at the University of Copenhagen. The 15 lecturers came from three departments: Large Animal Science, Information Technology and Mathematics. Test examiners’ global and fluency scores from the test were analysed against collocational competence, measured as collocations produced per thousand words spoken, and three temporal fluency measures calculated for each lecturer.
Initial findings across all lecturers showed no correlation between collocational competence and either overall proficiency or fluency. However, further analysis of lecturers by department revealed that possible correlations were hidden by variations in the proportion of general collocations to domain-specific collocations used across the three disciplines represented. The relative density of domain-specific collocations seemed to affect both how collocational competence was measured and how examiners perceived fluency.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCopenhagen
Publisher Centre for Internationalisation and Parallel Language Use at the University of Copenhagen.
Number of pages111
ISBN (Electronic)87-91621-68-2
Publication statusPublished - 2015
SeriesCopenhagen Studies in Bilingualism Studies in Parallel Language Use,

ID: 151895958