The term fluency has acquired two rather different meanings in ELT. The first is similar to a typical
dictionary entry. For example, ‘fluent’ is defined by Chambers Concise Dictionary as ‘able to speak and write a particular language competently and with ease.’ In this meaning it is normally restricted to language production, and in ELT it is normally reserved for speech. It is the ability to link units of speech together with facility and without strain or inappropriate slowness or undue hesitation. Faerch, Haastrup, and Phillipson (1984) include fluency as a component of communicative competence, and define it as ‘the speaker’s ability to make use of whatever linguistic and pragmatic competence they have.’ They distinguish three types of fluency:

Semantic fluency, i.e. linking together propositions and speech acts

Lexical-syntactic fluency, i.e. linking syntactic constituents and words

Articulatory fluency, i.e. linking together speech segments

By Tricia Hedge

To read more Download PDF: Fluency