Utterance fluency in Finnish Sign Language L1 and L2 signing
Keywords:breakdowns, fluency, L2 learning, Sign Language, speed
This paper explores the fluency of first language (L1) and second language (L2) signers of Finnish Sign Language. The phenomenon was approached by measuring utterance fluency using speed and breakdown parameters. The findings revealed clear differences between L1 and L2 signers regarding the measured fluency parameters. On average, L1 signers produced more signs and had fewer breakdowns per minute than L2 signers. However, the slowest L1 signer and the fastest L2 signer were more similar to each other than the averages of the L1 group’s (129.3) and the L2 group’s (71.4) signs per minute might suggest. The number of breakdowns per minute differed between the groups, with L2 signers breaking down on average over three times more often than L1 signers. The relative proportion of breakdown types also varied. These findings support the concept of fluency as rather a multidimensional continuum of features than a categorical phenomenon.