Speaking: Accuracy to Fluency
Gerard McLoughlin
Spoken fluency revisited
Michael McCarthy University of Nottingham, UK
<CANDIDATE 01> Er when do you have breakfast?
<CANDIDATE 02> I have my breakfast er at er seven o’clock.
<CANDIDATE 01> Where do you have breakfast?
<CANDIDATE 02> Er in my kitchen in my house
<CANDIDATE 01> In what room?
<CANDIDATE 02> In the kitchen.
<CANDIDATE 01> And do you have coffee or tea for breakfast?
<CANDIDATE 02> Er tea.
<CANDIDATE 01> Er what do you eat?
<CANDIDATE 02> I eat toast and a cup of tea.
<CANDIDATE 01> How many days er how many times a day do you have it?
<CANDIDATE 02> Er two times. [4 seconds pause]
<CANDIDATE 02> Sorry I don’t understand you. Repeat the sentence please
. <CANDIDATE 01> How many times a day do you have breakfast?
<CANDIDATE 02> One time a day of course!
• <Examiner> First of all we’d like to know a little bit about you. Erm
where do you both live?
• <Candidate 01> I live in (place name) in South Korea yes.
• <Candidate 02> And I live in (place name). It’s in Switzerland and
it’s near Zurich.
• <Examiner> (Candidate name) how long have you been studying
• <Candidate 01> Well actually I study English mm in junior high
school and high school for six years around for six years.
• <Examiner> Different classes. Good. Now I’d like you to ask each
other something about things you particularly like about living in
this country and entertainment and leisure facilities in this area.
[intervening text]
• <Candidate 02> Erm I like to go erm to see a movie
• <Candidate 01>Mm
• <Candidate 02>I see a lot of them since I’ve been here and I like to
go to pubs and +
• <Candidate 01> Ah
• <Candidate 02>+together with friends and • <Candidate 01>-Yeah me too actually
Disappearing dialogues
A: Did you have a good weekend?
B: Yeah, I did, thanks. It was really nice.
A: What did you do?
B: Well, I went to visit a friend in London.
A: Oh yes? Did you have a good time?
B: Yes, it was great. We had a really good time.
We went dancing on Saturday night.
© Framework, Jones & Goldstein, Richmond 2005
A: Hi, Good Morning.
B: Oh, Hello. How are you? What happened to you last Friday?
A: Yes, sorry I couldn’t come to class. I was ill.
B: That’s OK. Are you feeling better now?
A: Yes, much better thanks. Can you give me the papers from last
B: Yes, of course. Here you are.
A: Great. Thanks. I’ll look at them tonight.
B: OK. No problem.
© Innovations, Dellar & Walkley, Heinle 2005
Read and Listen
D: Oh, and I saw John a couple of days ago.
M: Oh yes! How was he?
D: Very well. Did you know he’s got a new girlfriend?
M: No, I didn’t. But you know your brother, he never tells me
anything. Have you met her?
D: Yes, she was there when I went to his house.
M: and what’s she like?
D: She’s really nice. She’s very interesting, she works in an art
gallery and she likes painting.
© Innovations, Dellar & Walker, Heinle 2005
1 del arte de curar, claro está. Del suyo respectivo, otro tanto podrían d
2 del Atlántico pero también del Pacífico. Está claro para los expertos, las academias
3 como para los que no lo son, y está claro que "puede" servir para todas
4 ocurre hoy en la España de las autonomías? - Sí, claro, y la Academia no puede
5 el punto de partida es rigurosamente claro, y Lázaro se remonta al Diálogo de la
6 el dueño le contestó que bien claro estaba lo que allí decía: "Ca pancalá".
7 "Para los católicos está claro que sólo hay un "Heiliger Vater" (el Papa), per
8 En castellano no puede estar más claro que ese ambiguo "su" de "todo el mundo"
9 la palabra que lo nombra tomó el color del claro brillante y se formó con
10 sólamente queremos dejar claro que estos contrastes entonativos tienen en la l
Corpus data: Chunks
You know
I don’t know
You know what
You know what
I mean
Do you know
what I mean
I mean
A lot of
Know what I
At the end of
At the end of
the day
I think
I mean I
I don’t know
Do you know
what I
And all the rest
of it
In the
I don’t think
The end of the
The end of the
And all that
sort of thing
It was
Do you think
At the end of
Do you want
me to
I don’t know
what it is
Chunks & Fluency
// he’s SHY//you know what i MEAN
//they sell JEWellery//and THAT sort of thing//
//the ROOM was//a BIT of a//MESS actually
© From corpus to classroom, Language use and language teaching, O’Keefe, McCarthy, Carter, CUP 2007
D: Oh, and I SAW JOHN a COUple of DAYS ago.
M: Oh YES! How was HE?
D: Very WELL. Did you KNOW he’s got a NEW GIRLfriend?
M: NO, I Didn’t. but you KNOW your BROther, he NEver tells
ME ANYthing. have you MET her?
D: YES, she was THERE when I WENT to his HOUSE.
M: and WHAT’S she LIKE?
D: She’s REALLY NICE. She’s very INteresting, she WORKS in
an ART GALlery and she likes PAINting.
Minimal response: Mm, Yeah, Lovely
Clusters: Yeah mm, Right Fine
Negation: Absolutely not, Definitely not
Convergence: Closing/changing topic
© From corpus to classroom, Language use and language teaching, O’Keefe, McCarthy, Carter, CUP
Pre-closing and closing routines
S2: They look very good
S1: Thanks for that
S2: They look very good
S1: Great
S2: Yes
S1: Fabulous
S2: All right
S1: Ok thanks for that
S2: Okay, Cesca
S1: Cheers
S2: Bye
Opening & Closing
Conversation & daily chat
In a bar/café
At a bus stop
In a waiting room
Opening phrase
Closing phrase
In a bar/café
Is this seat free?
Sorry, I’ve got to go
At a bus stop
Is this the stop for the 27?
That’s my bus
In a waiting room
Been waiting long?
Nice meeting you
Decision making
• Suggestion =>
• Agree => modification/negotiation =>
Agree/Disagree etc => Summary
• Disagree => negotiation/new suggestion =>
Agree/Disagree etc => Summary
Class data
Pre: ‘you can going to walking’
Post: ‘we could go walking’,
Pre: ‘the car is difficult’ and ‘drink… and see the
Post: ‘I’m sorry, I don’t really like it, because I
live next to the Borne, but we could go to your
house’; ‘that’s a great idea, and we could
make a picnic’;
Making suggestions
Could we go to the beach?
Why don’t we go to the beach?
(I think) We could go to the beach.
That’s a great idea!
I’m not sure (about that)
Negotiating: after agreeing
..and we could/might go swimming too
after disagreeing
Perhaps/Maybe we could/should go to…
So, we’re all agreed to….
So. We’re going to….
Daily chats
Matching sentence halves
The last time I
• went out for a meal
The restaurant was
• fairly basic but clean
You should really
• go there when you want to
impress visitors
The last time I
The restaurant was
You should really
• Memorisation
• Chunking
• Noticing
• Framework, Jones & Goldstein, Richmond
• Innovations, Dellar & Walkley, Heinle
• Spoken fluency revistited, McCarthy, English Profile
Journal 2010
• From corpus to classroom Language use and Language
teaching, O’Keefe, McCarthy, Carter, CUP
• Johnny Depp interview:
• Hofesh Scheckter interview:
• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEaTOSRMifU
Gerard McLoughlin

Speaking as a skill