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Pausing patterns: differences between L2 learners and native speakers

Tavakoli, P. (2011) Pausing patterns: differences between L2 learners and native speakers. ELT Journal, 65 (1). pp. 71-79. ISSN 1477-4526

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1093/elt/ccq020


This paper reports on a comparative study of pauses made by L2 learners and native speakers of English while narrating picture stories. The comparison is based on the number of pauses and total amount of silence in themiddle and at the end of clauses in the performance of 40 native speakers and 40 L2 learners of English. The results of the quantitative analyses suggest that, although the L2 learners generally pausemore repeatedly and have longer periods of silence than the native speakers, the distinctive feature of their pausing pattern is that they pause frequently in the middle of clauses rather than at the end. The qualitative analysis of the data suggests that some of the L2 learners’mid-clause pauses are associated with processes such as replacement, reformulation, and online planning. Formulaic sequences, however, contain very few pauses and therefore appear to facilitate the learners’ fluency.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Language and Applied Linguistics
ID Code:31323
Publisher:Oxford University Press

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