Authors: Sakae Onoda
Abstract: This study investigated the effects of instruction in multiword units on the oral fluency and interactional skills of Japanese EFL learners. These sequences help speakers express functions such as agreeing, disagreeing, and eliciting opinions. L2 literature shows that Japanese speakers of English are unskilled at using these sequences, often letting interlocutors dominate and failing to interact effectively. Yet few attempts have been made to teach these in Japanese contexts. Participants were English majors in classes that met twice weekly for one academic year. Functional multiword units were taught in a control and experimental group, with the former experiencing an approach integrating three skills while the latter participated in linked-skills tasks based on one text but using different skills. Oral fluency and interactional skills were measured at the beginning and end of the year. Results showed that oral fluency and interactional skills improved significantly in the experimental group. The linked-skills approach combined with instruction in functional multiword units effectively improves oral fluency and interactional skills in Japanese learners with upper-intermediate English proficiency. The approach encourages learners to process key language items, including functional multiword units in all four skills thanks to repeated practice and pre-task planning, thus promoting deep processing and strengthening automatization.
Keywords: functional multiword units; oral fluency; linked skills; automatization; interactional skills