The purpose of this research was to better understand the relationship between L1 and L2 fluency, precisely, whether there is a relationship between L1 and L2 temporal fluency measures and whether this relationship differs across different languages and different proficiency levels. In order to answer these questions, L1 and L2 speech samples of the same speakers were collected and analyzed. Twenty-five native speakers and 45 non-native speakers of Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese, Spanish, and Russian were asked to respond to questions and perform picture descriptions in their L1 and L2. The recorded speech samples were then analyzed by means of a Praat script in order to identify mean length of run (MLR), speech rate, and number of pauses. Several different statistical analyses were then performed to compare these L1 and L2 temporal features across different languages and different proficiency levels. The results of this study indicate that there is a strong relationship between L1 and L2 fluency and that this relationship may play a role in L2 production. Furthermore, it was found that native languages differ in their patterns of L1 temporal fluency production and that these differences may affect the production of L2 temporal fluency. It was also found that L1-L2 fluency relationship did not differ at different proficiency levels suggesting that individual factors may play a role in L2 fluency production. Thus, it was found that an Intermediate speaker of Spanish, for instance, did not speak faster than an Intermediate speaker of Russian, suggesting that naturally slower speakers in their L1 will still speak slower in their L2. These results indicate that fluency is as much of a trait as it is a state. However, it was also found that not all of the L1-L2 language combinations demonstrated the same results, indicating that the L1-L2 fluency relationship is affected by the L2. These findings have different implications for both L2 teaching and learning, as well as L2 assessment of fluency and overall language proficiency.



College and Department

Humanities; Center for Language Studies



Date Submitted


Document Type





fluency, second-language acquisition, proficiency