Building connected discourse in non-native speech: Re-specifying non-native proficiency

Yo-An Lee


The demand for proficient non-native speakers (NNSs) of English has increased across professional fields in recent years. While speaking skills involve a complex array of factors and constraints, previous studies resorted to unexamined perceptions or intuitive impressions drawn from surface linguistic features. Particularly missing is close analytic descriptions of non-native discourse that is produced in spontaneous contexts. The present study investigates the process by which NNSs of English produce connected discourse as it unfolds in real-time. The ability to produce connected discourse is considered a hallmark of advanced speaking proficiency and this study therefore focuses on tracing the sequential organization of multiple utterances that NNSs produce in spontaneous speech. Following the principles of conversation analysis (CA), the present paper analyzes three sets of excerpts demonstrating the contingent choices that NNSs make in building connected discourse. The findings offer empirical resources for non-native professionals to identify the practicality and generality of connected discourse in real-time speech contexts.

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