Proceedings from the CALS conference 2014
Edited By Kristina Cergol Kovačević and Sanda Lucija Udier
The pronunciation of ELF: Internationally intelligible English with recognizable national features
This paper focuses on the pronunciation of English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) in Croatia. We analyse the English pronunciation of five focus group members representing five different first languages. They are university students of English and discuss topics of their common interest. A recording was made of their conversation, which was preceded by the reading of a test passage serving as a prompt for discussion. Four independent trained listeners performed an auditory analysis of the recording. There were two basic research questions. First, to what extent and in what way does the participants’ pronunciation at this highest level of competence differ from the pronunciation which was found in the interlanguage of Croatian learners? Second, what are the characteristic, national features which distinguish this ‘mature’ ELF pronunciation of individual focus-group members from the other participants who are native speakers of phonologically different languages?
Despite the limitations of scope and method, the results provide unambiguous answers to our questions. At this level of pronunciation, as opposed to learners’ pronunciation, we have found all the features necessary for complete international intelligibility. However, the ‘non-core’ features giving away non-native pronunciation, such as absence of allophonic alternation and non-native prosody, have also been found with all five participants.
The manifestation of these give-away features depends on the phonological background of the participant. What they all turn out to have in common is the impression of a syllable-based rhythm. Accordingly, guidelines are provided for a comparative...
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