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Perceiving Identity through Accent

Beinhoff, Bettina

Perceiving Identity through Accent

Attitudes towards Non-Native Speakers and their Accents in English

Series: Contemporary Studies in Descriptive Linguistics - Volume 35

Year of Publication: 2013

Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2013. 280 pp., num. tables and graphs
ISBN 978-3-0343-0819-9 pb.  (Softcover)
ISBN 978-3-0353-0454-1 (eBook)

Weight: 0.430 kg, 0.948 lbs

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Book synopsis

Given the increasing use of English worldwide and in intercultural communication, there is a growing interest in attitudes towards non-native speaker accents in English. Research on attitudes towards non-native English accents is therefore important because of concerns about positive and negative discrimination between people who speak with different accents. This book reveals exactly what types of accent variations trigger positive and negative attitudes towards the speaker.
The author argues that certain types of variation in the pronunciation of English can have a significant effect on how listeners identify an accent and explores how this variation affects the development of certain attitudes towards the speaker. Specific sounds that are difficult for many learners to acquire (e.g. the initial sounds in ‘this’ or ‘June’) are examined in terms of attitudes towards speakers’ pronunciation, including an original comparison of two different kinds of non-native accents (German and Greek). The results of the study provide a basis for further research in second language acquisition and applied linguistics as well as practical information for language instructors at all levels of English education.

Contents

Contents: English in a changing world: Sociolinguistic and social psychological issues – The structure of non-native English accents: Definitions, norms and the myth of the «neutral» accent – Learnability in Second Language Acquisition – Solidarity and status: Attitudes towards non-native English accents – Perceived variation in pronunciation – Attitudes towards variation in specific consonants.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

Bettina Beinhoff is a lecturer in Applied Linguistics and English Language at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge. She holds a PhD in Applied Linguistics and an MPhil in English and Applied Linguistics from the University of Cambridge, where she also worked as a Teaching and Research Associate from 2010 to 2012.

Series

Contemporary Studies in Descriptive Linguistics. Vol. 35
Edited by Graeme Davis and Karl A. Bernhardt