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Perceiving Identity through Accent

Attitudes towards Non-Native Speakers and their Accents in English


Bettina Beinhoff

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.


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Chapter 10 General Discussion and Conclusion


This chapter recaps the major research questions and how we set out to answer them with the three experiments. This chapter gives a brief sum- mary of the experiments and how they relate to one another before sum- marizing their results. This is followed by a discussion on how the results contributed to answering the main research questions. We will then look at possible implications of the results and finish with some suggestions for future research, because although our results certainly answered a lot of questions, they also raise further questions. Our experiments and their results have been discussed rather isolated within each of the preceding chapters; in this chapter, all results will be discussed in relation to each other to show more explicitly how all three experiments contribute to answering the main research questions: • What kind of attitudes do NNS of English have towards their own and other NNS-accents in English? • What types of consonantal variation inf luence attitudes towards NNS of English? These major research questions were broken down into several hypotheses and research questions that we attempted to answer with the three experi- ments entitled: • Solidarity and status: attitudes towards NNS-accents in English, • Perceived variation in pronunciation and • Attitudes towards variation in specific consonants. 234 Chapter 10 This is a very brief summary of these experiments as a reminder of what they were all about and how they relate to each other; a detailed summary and discussion of their results will follow later in this chapter. Experiment...

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