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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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Appendices Appendix 1 Questionnaire Details of participant no. ______________ for Experiment 1 – Attitudes and Accents When analysing the data of this experiment there are a few additional factors that I need to take into account when discussing the results. Therefore, it would be much appreciated if you could answer the questions below. Any information you give will be kept absolutely anonymous – so please do NOT write your name on this form. I know who answered this by your participant number and nobody else will. If you cannot answer one of the questions or are not sure about them, please ask. 1. What is/are your native language(s)? 2. What languages (apart from English) have you learned so far and for how long? (e.g. French – 2 years; Spanish – 4 years) 3. What dif ferent accents in English are you familiar with? a. native speaker accents: b. non-native speaker accents: 4. You just heard several accents in the experiment. Did you recognize some of them? If so, which kinds of accents did you recognize, where might the speakers come from? 5. How old are you? (If you don’t mind) ☐ under 20 years ☐ 20–24 years ☐ 25–29 years ☐ 30–34 years ☐ 35–39 years ☐ 40–44 years ☐ 45–50 years ☐ older than 50 years 270 Appendices For non-native English speaking participants only: 1. At which age did you start learning English? 2. In what kind of institution did you learn English? 3. What kind of teaching methods were used during your language education...

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