Effect of Context on Types of Hesitation Strategies Used by Iranian EFL Learners in L2 Oral Language Tests

Shadi Khojasteh rad, Ain Nadzimah Abdullah


Hesitation strategies appear in speech in the form of filled or unfilled pauses, paralinguistic markers like nervous laughter or coughing, or signals which are used to justify units in the coming utterances in which the speaker struggles to produce. The main functions of these forms of hesitation strategies have been associated with speech planning or accessing speech difficulties.

The present paper reports on a study which investigated the effect of context on hesitation strategies employed by Iranian university students. Previous studies on hesitation strategies used by beginner or advanced L2 learners revealed that beginners mostly leave their hesitation pauses unfilled which cause their speech to sound disfluent, and advanced learners tend to use various fillers in order to sound like native speakers.

The study examines this phenomenon across different contexts in an oral L2 test situation. The respondents were a group of students registered in the Tertiary English Language Program at a university in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The frequency and use of silent pauses, silent pauses and fillers, fillers, and non-lexical words were examined in four different L2 oral tasks. The aim was to identify the effect of context on the types of hesitation strategies employed by the EFL learners in speaking tests.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/elt.v5n7p102

English Language Teaching       ISSN 1916-4742 (Print)   ISSN  1916-4750 (Online)

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