Kvantitativa perspektiv på L2-tal på olika färdighetsnivåer
The aim of this study is to investigate differences in the amount (the occurrence rate) of second language (L2) traits at different proficiency levels in spoken L2 Finland-Swedish. In the analysis, we focus on L2 features in segments, segment lengths, word stress and sentence stress. Further, we analyze the ability to produce speech and the complexity of production at different proficiency levels: the amount of speech, token length, token structure and speech rate. Through previous research, we know that pronunciation plays an important role for comprehensibility and foreign accent but also for the level of oral proficiency. Although pronunciation and different pronunciation features are usually more target-like at higher proficiency levels, knowledge on the amount and type of L2 traits at different levels in Swedish is scarce. The results augment our understanding of L2 speaking construct and have the potential to enhance development of assessment criteria for oral proficiency. Quantitative knowledge of pronunciation skills at different proficiency levels is also needed to develop automated (digital) assessment of and feedback on L2 speaking.
The speakers in the study (n = 24) were assessed at proficiency levels A1–C2 (CEFR) in oral proficiency tests. We examined their speech in monologues of 40–60 seconds. The analysis was carried out by carefully listening and coding the L2 features in the selected phonetic categories. The results show that the speakers’ pronunciation of segments improves almost linearly from A1 to C2, but this is not the case in sentence prosody. On the contrary, the amount of L2 traits in sentence prosody increases at level B2. The ability and complexity of speech production also increase at level B2, and there seems to be a connection between the increase of prosodic L2 traits and the increase of ability and complexity of speech production.