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Linguistic skills and speaking fluency in a second language

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 March 2012

Utrecht University
University of Amsterdam
University of Amsterdam
University of Amsterdam
University of Amsterdam
ADDRESS FOR CORRESPONDENCE Nivja de Jong, Utrecht Institute of Linguistics OTS, Utrecht University, Trans 10, Utrecht 3512 JK, The Netherlands. E-mail:


This study investigated how individual differences in linguistic knowledge and processing skills relate to individual differences in speaking fluency. Speakers of Dutch as a second language (N = 179) performed eight speaking tasks, from which several measures of fluency were derived such as measures for pausing, repairing, and speed (mean syllable duration). In addition, participants performed separate tasks, designed to gauge individuals’ second language linguistic knowledge and linguistic processing speed. The results showed that the linguistic skills were most strongly related to average syllable duration, of which 50% of individual variance was explained; in contrast, average pausing duration was only weakly related to linguistic knowledge and processing skills.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012 

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