The Development of L2 Fluency During Study Abroad: A Cross-Language Study

Francesca Di Silvio, Wenhao Diao, Anne Donovan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Examining speech samples from 75 American university students learning 1 of 3 languages (Mandarin, Russian, and Spanish), this article reports on a study of second language (L2) learners’ oral fluency development and its relationship with their gains in holistic proficiency ratings during a semester abroad. In study abroad research, there is a need for large-scale studies that systematically investigate learners’ L2 development (Kinginger, Rees & Klapper,). To address this need, the project used a quantitative design involving learners of 3 languages from multiple cohorts and diverse sending and destination institutions. Results from an analysis of 600 speech samples from 150 pretest and posttest Simulated Oral Proficiency Interviews (SOPIs) showed significant increases in speech rate as well as differences between the 3 language groups. The study also investigated the relationship between holistic oral proficiency ratings and fine-tuned fluency measures and found some limited relationships between them. These findings can provide methodological suggestions for researchers interested in L2 fluency development among study abroad students and implications for foreign language educators and policy makers to promote study abroad and language learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)610-624
Number of pages15
JournalModern Language Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Mandarin
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • fluency
  • study abroad

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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