One of the main purposes of learning a foreign language is that learner can communicate fluently (Burns & Seidlhofer, 2002; Lazaraton, 2001; Nunan, 2003). It is clear that fluency is extremely important (Segalowitz, 2003, p. 384). Fluency has been constantly concerned by L2 researchers because it related to communicative effectiveness. (Bygate, 2009). Vann and Abraham (1990) found that the competence in using strategies in the learning situation is the difference between fluent and non-fluent L2 learner. This study examined the influence of the strategy facets in fluency, endeavoured to explore the use of OCSs (oral communication strategies) by fluent and non-fluent L2 speakers in Iran.
The study discovered what types of oral communication strategies which Iranian fluent and non-fluent EFL speakers and listeners employed most frequently and found what types of oral communication strategies Iranian male and female EFL speakers and listeners employed most frequently. There were 50 participants who were undergraduates at Shahrekord University majoring in English Translation. They recorded their answers by using a digital audio recorder. Twenty of whom were males and thirty of whom were females, aged 20-25. Dividing into the level, there are twelve males and ten females as fluent speakers and eight males and twenty females as non-fluent speakers. At first, the participants answered this question in two or three minutes: “What will you do to prepare yourself for presenting a lecture?” Next, in four or five minutes they have to describe a sequence six pictures (Mirzaei, 2012). Two raters used a scale adapted from Fulcher (1996) to analyzed and rated the oral recordings and their transcriptions. Then, the OCSI was administered to the participants in order to determine their use of OCSs. Finally, a series of MANOVAs were run to analyze the collected data. There are eight dependent variables which related to the analysis: social-affective, fluency-oriented, meaning-negotiation, accuracy-oriented, message reduction and alteration, nonverbal, message-abandonment, and attempt to think in English strategies while speaking.
The result is that the fluent L2 speakers made use of more OCSs than the non-fluent ones. The fluent L2 speakers were found to use fluency-oriented strategies, meaning-negotiation strategies, getting-the-gist strategies, social-affective strategies, scanning strategies more frequently than the non-fluent participants. However, the findings also indicated that the non-fluent participants made use of nonverbal strategies, word-oriented strategies and paying attention to every word and interrogative sentences more frequently. The results concerning the role of gender in the participants’ use of OCSs while speaking showed that the females used more social-affective strategies and nonverbal and word-oriented strategies to grasp the intended meanings or feelings of the interlocutors, the male L2 speakers utilized more fluency-oriented and meaning-negotiation strategies preferred to employ scanning and getting-the-gist strategies while listening.
The findings of this study might suggest some implications. It is suggested that L2 teachers should introduce OCSs to less fluent learners and encourage them to apply in speaking learning to increase their ability to confront with difficulties during listening and speaking. In addition, through examining L2 the performance, L2 learners can raise their awareness of efficient strategies and then improve their target proficiency (Nakatani, 2005).