Disfluency in Spontaneous Speech (DiSS'03)

September 5-8, 2003
Göteborg, Sweden

Disfluencies and Hesitation Strategies in Oral L2 Tests

Caroline L. Rieger

University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

This paper presents an investigation of hesitation strategies of intermediate learners of German as a second or foreign language (L2) when they take part in oral L2 tests. Previous studies of L2 hesitation strategies have focused on beginning and advanced L2 learners. They found that beginners tend to leave their hesitation pauses unfilled making their speech highly disfluent [17], while advanced L2 speakers - similar to native speakers - use a variety of fillers. In oral L2 tests, intermediate learners hesitate mainly for two reasons: to search for a German word or structure, or to think about the content of their utterance. Some participants use a variety of strategies to signal to the addressee that they are hesitating. This variety is not as rich as it is for advanced L2 learners or native speakers. Other participants leave their hesitation pauses unfilled or rely on quasi-lexical fillers to hold the floor when hesitating.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Rieger, Caroline L. (2003): "Disfluencies and hesitation strategies in oral L2 tests", In DiSS'03, 41-44.