The role of pragmatic markers in perceptions of L2 fluency in dialogue

Dan Brown, Julieta Fernández, Amanda Huensch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This matched-guise study helps identify the features of interaction that contribute to perceptions of fluency in L2 dialogue. We focus on pragmatic markers (PM) that occur frequently in L1 interaction but relatively less so in L2 English learners' speech (Fung & Carter, 2007), namely, interpersonal (e.g., I see, okay) and cognitive PMs (e.g., I mean, well, I think). Despite evidence of their functional value in interaction (McCarthy, 2009), they are often considered markers of disfluency and rarely introduced in L2 classrooms. Speech samples of highly proficient L2 interaction were digitally manipulated to control for interpersonal and cognitive PMs simulating expert speaker-like PM use. L1 and L2 English listeners (N = 231) rated and commented upon interlocutor's fluency. The quantitative results suggest that listeners generally perceived speakers as more fluent when using PMs, although the magnitude of the effect was relatively small and driven by L1 raters. Raters' qualitative comments suggest covert influence of PM use on fluency perceptions and uncovered a bias favoring English L1 speaker PM use. Results support the potential value of explicitly addressing PMs in teaching L2 fluency and help researchers in understanding the construct of spoken fluency in dialogue to guide in its measurement and assessment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103157
StatePublished - Dec 2023


  • Dialogue fluency
  • Interactional competence
  • Pragmatic markers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


Dive into the research topics of 'The role of pragmatic markers in perceptions of L2 fluency in dialogue'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this