First Advisor

Kimberley A. Brown

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages


Teaching English as a Second Language




English language -- Spoken English -- Study and teaching -- Thai speakers, Thai students -- Pacific Northwest



Physical Description

1 online resource (x, 112 p.)


Fluency is generally recognized as speaking with a high rate of speech. This study provides a greater understanding of the notion of fluency that speech rate is not the only measure to determine the fluency level of a speaker. Particularly in a second language (L2), fluency involves other features and it can reflect non-native speakers' capacity in using L2. Fluency is comprised of the continuity and the smoothness of speech without a high occurrence of hesitation phenomena and repair mechanisms. The purpose of the present study was to analyze English spoken fluency of Thai graduate students. This study sought to answer the following questions: 1) How many of the intended messages from Thai graduate students are understood by English native speakers (NSs)? 2) To what factors do Thai graduate students attribute their fluency related behaviors? and 3) How orally fluent are Thai graduate students in the production of English? Twenty Thai graduate students at a large university in the western United States volunteered as subjects. Both qualitative and quantitative analyses were used in the study. One-tailed t-tests were computed to examine the first question. The tests were considered significant at the .05 level. A highly significant difference was found confirming that listeners understand approximately 80% (2.4) or less of the subjects' messages due to errors in pronunciation, grammar, fluency, or vocabulary that occasionally interfere with intelligibility. Retrospection of the subjects on the recorded conversations between the subjects and the NS interviewers answered the second question. The subjects reported that the main problem was a lack of vocabulary that significantly influenced the fluency level of their spoken English. Hesitation, repair and rate of speech during the interview were counted as the characteristics of fluency and were used as parameters to determine the subjects' fluency and lack of fluency. The raw frequencies showed that there were 2 subjects rated as fluent and 18 subjects as non-fluent. To strengthen the validity of the third question, two-tailed t-tests and Mann-Whitney U-Wilcoxon Rank Sum W test were used to determine if a statistically significant difference existed between fast versus slow speakers.


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