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Fluency for Conversational Interaction
Start date: Jan 1, 2010,

There is an acute awareness in the EU that immigrant citizens cannot function as full members of their host communities without sufficient linguistic skills.Integration requires familiarisation with native-to-native spoken language, both for reception and production. A characteristic of native dialogue is that almost 60% of informal speech is prefabricated, and the absence/incorrect intonation of these formulaic sequences marks speakers as outsiders.Language proficiency is not simply the correct use of vocabulary and grammar, but is rather part of interactive, social communication in which learners need to be made aware of the role of intonation. Because they are so common, formulaic sequences in particular are prone to delivery in a manner which indicates speaker attitude rather than just transmitting factual information.The FluenCi project therefore plans to develop an English PHRASeCON, a prioritised selection of collocations, phrases and idioms which exemplify the role of intonation in informal native dialogues. This has been shown to account for up to 38% of the communicative value of informal speech. It will embed these in realistic, communicative contexts, record them at a high audio quality and make them available to distance learners via the web and mobile devices. Slowed-down versions of the recordings, using DIT technology, will help raise learners’ awareness of the role of different intonation patterns.In order to facilitate access to the PHRASeCON, a selection of exemplar learning materials will be produced, aimed at various target groups, including undergraduates, the socially marginalized, immigrant children and trainee teachers, and will also be tested on these groups to assess their effectiveness. Having CUP and UNED as partners in the consortium will ensure that usability and exploitation potential are at the forefront of development and facilitate extensibility to other languages, as will the focus groups at three of the consortium meetings.
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