Article

Foreign accent: The phenomenon of non-native speech

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Abstract

To what extent do our accents determine the way we are perceived by others? Is foreign accent inevitably associated with social stigma? Accent is a matter of great public interest given the impact of migration on national and global affairs, but until now, applied linguistics research has treated accent largely as a theoretical puzzle. In this fascinating account, Alene Moyer examines the social, psychological, educational and legal ramifications of sounding ‘foreign’. She explores how accent operates contextually through analysis of issues such as: the neuro-cognitive constraints on phonological acquisition, individual factors that contribute to the ‘intractability’ of accent, foreign accent as a criterion for workplace discrimination, and the efficacy of instruction for improving pronunciation. This holistic treatment of second language accent is an essential resource for graduate students and researchers interested in applied linguistics, bilingualism and foreign language education.

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... According to Moyer (2013), while often used interchangeably, there is a marked difference between accent and pronunciation. She states that while pronunciation relates to specific articulation, accent is concerned with suprasegmental features such as "intonation, rhythm, pitch, segmental length, tempo, and loudness" (p. ...
... In the past, the presence of an L2 accent was seen as something "undesirable" that had to be eliminated (Zárate-Sández, 2017, p. 237). The general consensus today is that accented speech is only an issue if it actively impedes communication or leads to unintelligibility (Moyer, 2013). Many researchers have also pointed out that the attainment of a native-like accent or pronunciation is not only extremely difficult, but may even be impossible (Derwing & Munro 2009;Long, 1990;Moyer 2013). ...
... The general consensus today is that accented speech is only an issue if it actively impedes communication or leads to unintelligibility (Moyer, 2013). Many researchers have also pointed out that the attainment of a native-like accent or pronunciation is not only extremely difficult, but may even be impossible (Derwing & Munro 2009;Long, 1990;Moyer 2013). Nevertheless, past studies have revealed that students learning a second language generally aim to speak with a native-sounding accent. ...
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Speaking anxiety is a form of foreign language anxiety which may reduce students’ willingness to communicate orally. Despite accent being one of the most salient aspects of speech, there has been little research to date on the relationship between non-native accent and speaking anxiety. The purpose of this study is therefore to examine English learners’ perceptions and beliefs about accent, and also to explore the concept of accent anxiety, that is, speaking anxiety arising due to concern about one’s non-native accent. An anonymous online questionnaire was distributed to English students in a French university. The questionnaire sought to gauge the students’ attitudes both towards speaking and accent and gathered qualitative responses about the students’ experiences of accent anxiety and their coping strategies. A thematic analysis was then carried out on the 54 responses. It was found that the majority of the students did not believe attaining a native-sounding accent was essential to language learning and felt that comprehensibility should be the primary objective. However, many of these students nonetheless considered it a personal goal to sound more native-like. Furthermore, most of the students had at some point in their learning felt embarrassed or worried about their accents, with the two primary causes being fear of negative evaluation from their peers and fear of future communication issues. It was concluded that concern over how non-native accents sound is a potential source of speaking anxiety for learners of English. As these students highlighted the classroom as being the main location where this anxiety arises, the study concludes with some suggestions for educators as well as ideas for future research directions.
... Since then, studies have continued to document effects of age on language learning and, in particular, in pronunciation (Granena and Long 2012). Learning the pronunciation of a new language is thought to be harder than any other aspect of language learning for adult learners, and it is rare for adult learners to sound like a native speaker of their L2 (Moyer 2013). ...
... Infants begin to specialize for their native language immediately (Clark 2016), and between six to twelve months of age infants show noticeable declines in their ability to discriminate sounds in foreign languages (Kuhl, Tsao, and Liu 2003). However, when exposed to a second language early, children expand their phonetic perceptual abilities to match the segmental and suprasegmental needs of the new language (Kuhl, Tsao, and Liu 2003;Moyer 2013). This ability is less evident in adults (Trofimovich, Kennedy, and Foote 2016). ...
... For example, many second language learners report wishing to sound like native speakers (Beinhoff 2013;Derwing 2003;Jenkins 2013;McCrocklin and Link 2016;Timmis 2018) to better connect with native speakers (McCrocklin and Link 2016) or because they recognize an advantage to hiding their L2 status (Derwing 2003;Marx 2002). However, most adult L2 learners never obtain a native-like accent (Bongaerts et al. 1997;Cook 1999;Moyer 2013). Although length and consistency of language use are important factors in ultimate L2 pronunciation attainment (Moyer 2013), age of acquisition and social factors also influence both overall attainment and acquisition of particular sounds (Flege 1995;Moyer 2013;LeVelle and Levis 2014). ...
... According to this concept if a child starts learning a language before the Critical Age, he/she may dispose himself/herself of the accent. Although, there are still discussion concerning the exact age of this period and whether it is really works [8]. Exposure to the language environment (L2 use and LoRlength of residence) as well as learning conditions display too the significant role in acquiring the language. ...
... As an object of linguistic investigations, the following parameters of a foreign speech are associated with non-native speech as comprehensibility, intelligibility, and degree of foreignness, or accentedness [8]. Their main function is to define the accented speech on the perceptual level, from the point of view of the listener. ...
Article
The given article introduces the main areas of studying an accent. Particular attention is given to the field of linguistics, phonetics, and phonological research where an accent is not only a characteristic of an individual but also a bearer of distinctive features of the foreign speech. These features include differences on various language levels such as phonological, morphological, lexical, syntactical. The linguistic and non-linguistic phonetic features are illustrated. The peculiarities in pronunciation, which include melodic arrangements of utterances, rhythmical and structural organisation of the sentence, pausation, articulations in addition to vowels' and consonants' production and their interaction in speech are described as related to linguistic features. Non-linguistic features are connected with the personality of a speaker, the listener, the situation of speech and the context. The article presents a short outline of the criteria to measure a foreign-accented speech.
... Many researchers have reviewed accent in detail (e.g. Coupland and Bishop 2007;Kerswill and Torgersen 2017;Lev-Ari and Keysar 2010;Malarski 2013;Moyer 2013). The purpose of this section is not a comprehensive account of accents, but rather to briefly highlight some research about three accents that are of relevance to the current work: Received Pronunciation (RP), Multicultural London English (MLE) and Birmingham. ...
... There is some research to date that has specifically considered the impact of perceived accents on evaluations of criminal activity (Cantone et al. 2019;Dixon and Mahoney 2004;Dixon, Mahoney and Cocks 2002;Frumkin 2007;Kurinec and Weaver 2019;Moyer 2013;Rickford and King 2016;Seggie 1983). Most are studies that have assessed defendants speaking with different accents. ...
Article
The current study looked at the impact of British regional accents on evaluations of eyewitness testimony in criminal trials. Ninety participants were randomly presented with one of three video recordings of eyewitness testimony manipulated to be representative of Received Pronunciation (RP), Multicultural London English (MLE) or Birmingham accents. The impact of the accent was measured through eyewitness (a) accuracy, (b) credibility, (c) deception, (d) prestige, and (e) trial outcome (defendant guilt and sentence). RP was rated more favourably than MLE on accuracy, credibility and prestige. Accuracy and prestige were significant with RP rated more highly than a Birmingham accent. RP appears to be viewed more favourably than the MLE and Birmingham accents although the witness’s accents did not affect ratings of defendant guilt. Taken together, these findings show a preference for eyewitnesses to have RP speech over some regional accents.
... With respect to pronunciation, several individual differences, including aptitude, linguistic exposure, attitudes toward the culture(s) associated with the language, have been implicated in the acquisition of pronunciation and phonology (Moyer, 2013). Recent studies have begun to examine how such individual differences may also play a role in self-assessments of pronunciation-related dimensions of L2 speech. ...
... We thought that including these two attitudes would allow the expression of potentially interesting differences among individuals that intuitively could impact self-assessments. Imagine two learners with similarly weak foreign accents: One is a perfectionist who has a strong affinity to South Korean culture and expresses low to moderate satisfaction with their current Korean pronunciation, but the other has a strong, non-Korean ethnic identity and likes how they sound when speaking Korean (for more on ethnic affiliation and L2 accent, see Gatbonton, Trofimovich, & Magid, 2005;Moyer, 2013). If these two hypothetical learners are compared, it seems likely that the perfectionist might apply harsher self-assessment standards and be more likely to underestimate the native-likeness of their own accent. ...
Article
This study investigated L2 Korean speakers’ self‐assessment of speech comprehensibility and accentedness, including a conceptual replication of Trofimovich, Isaacs, Kennedy, Saito, and Crowther (2016, Experiment 1) and exploratory analyses of individual differences in self‐assessment. L2 Korean speakers (N = 198) self‐assessed their comprehensibility and accentedness using 9‐point scales, rated their satisfaction with their pronunciation and the value (importance) of pronunciation on 9‐point scales, completed a background questionnaire, and recorded a monologic speaking task. L1 Korean listeners (N = 82) judged 28 randomly assigned speakers for comprehensibility and accentedness using 9‐point scales, and scores for each speaker were adjusted to account for variation in listener severity. Listener and self‐assessments for both comprehensibility and accentedness correlated moderately (r = .54). Individuals with lower listener‐based scores tended to overestimate their ability in self‐assessment and vice versa, but higher listener‐based scores were associated with smaller absolute miscalibration. Regression analyses suggested that pronunciation satisfaction and perceived value of pronunciation both influenced self‐assessment scores and calibration.
... Extrinsic factors include learners' L2 experience, viz. age of onset of L2 learning (AOL), length of residence (LOR) in an L2-speaking environment and/or length of formal instruction (LFI), quantity and quality of L2 input, amount of L2 use; and intrinsic factors consist of individual differences such as motivation, memory, and language learning aptitude (Moyer, 2013;Piske, 2007). In a large number of studies, learner variables affecting L2 speech performance both in perception and production have been examined (e.g., Flege, 1995;Flege & Liu, 2001;Flege, Frieda, & Nowaza, 1997;Flege, Munro & MacKay, 1995a, 1995bPiske, MacKay & Flege, 2001;Rauber, Rato, & Silva, 2010). ...
... In the specific case of this vowel pair, there is no one-to-one grapheme-phoneme correspondence with both vowels being represented by the same grapheme <a>. Research has shown that orthography has an impact not only in phono-lexical categorization (Moyer, 2013), but also in prelexical phonological categorization (Escudero & Wanrooij, 2010). ...
Article
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The present study investigated L2 English vowel perception and the effect of stimulus type on the identification of vowel segments that present difficulties for Portuguese learners. It also examined the effect of subject factors such as age of acquisition, length of formal instruction, language use and vocabulary size, on the L2 learners’ perceptual performance. Twenty-nine adult Portuguese learners of English were tested on six English vowels (/iː ɪ ɛ æ ɜː ʌ/) with two tasks, differing in stimulus type, i.e., in the lexical status of trials (real words and pseudo words) in which the target vowels were auditorily presented. The testing stimuli consisted of 72 trials with real CVC words and 72 trials with pseudo CVC words, naturally produced by two speakers of standard southern British English (SSBE). The L2 vocabulary size of the participants was measured with two receptive vocabulary size tests and the language background data, viz. age of learning, length of formal instruction and L2 use was collected with a questionnaire. Results confirmed the Portuguese learners’ difficulties in accurately categorizing the target vowels, particularly when identifying the vowel target sounds embedded in pseudo words, which suggests that L2 phonological categories may be established after lexical forms. Furthermore, a significant correlation was found between L2 language use and accurate perception of four of the target vowels, which indicates that the more frequently learners use the target language, the more accurate is their L2 English vowel perception.
... Listeners are readily able to determine whether speakers are native speakers of their own language or nonnative speakers who learned the additional language later in life, even when provided with only short segments of speech (Flege, 1984;Park, 2013), although they are not very accurate at identifying the first-learned language of accented speakers (Atagi & Bent, 2013). The literature on accented speech is extensive (Moyer, 2013), and acoustic features of speech leading to accent perception and intelligibility challenges have been described for many first and second language pairs. For example, Japanese learners of English have difficulty perceiving and producing the distinction between the English consonants /ɹ/ and /l/ (Bradlow et al., 1999), and speakers from many first language backgrounds have difficulty perceiving and producing tense-lax vowel distinctions in English. ...
Article
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Purpose Speech conveys information about a speaker's identity—their age, gender, size, health, region of origin, language learning background, sexual orientation, and race—through a variety of acoustic cues. This review of the production and perception of extralinguistic information about speaker identity is intended to help instructors promote cultural and linguistic competence in basic anatomy and physiology, phonetics, and speech science courses through the understanding of indexical information in speech. Conclusions In assisting our students to recognize the anatomical/physiological and learned social and cultural speech features associated with the expression of personal identity, basic science instructors contribute to heightened awareness of listener expectations, stereotypes, and prejudices by future speech-language pathologists and audiologists so that they are better equipped to avoid misdiagnosis of speech differences and disorders, under referral or over referral of clients from vulnerable populations, and discriminatory practices leading to health disparities in clinical services and research.
... English speaker should acquire a perfect pronunciation of the English RP accent (Moyer, 2013). Thus, any phonetic deviations from the norms set by this native English accent should not be ignored as they cause failure in speech production and perception. ...
Thesis
Intelligibility refers to a targeted pronunciation level in English which enables non-native English speakers to produce and understand English speech uttered by both native and non-native English speakers. Instead of pursuing perfect mastery of English pronunciation, most researchers recommend intelligibility as an achievable and practical pronunciation goal. Although intelligibility is currently the focus of pronunciation studies and classroom instructions, it has not been applied in the Iraqi EFL classrooms and pronunciation research. The theoretical assumption of the study is that an intelligibility level of universal validity for EFL learners is best achieved when speech performance in English is based on a native English speakers’ pronunciation model, namely Gimson’s (2001) Minimum General Intelligibility (MGI). Applying a mixed methods approach, the present study investigates the productive and perceptive intelligibility of Iraqi EFL learners in relation to foreign accent and accent familiarity. Productive intelligibility refers to learners’ English speech being understood by others. This is determined by a production intelligibility test. By contrast, perceptive intelligibility refers to the ability of learners to understand native and non-native English speech. This is determined by a perception intelligibility test. The study measures the above two aspects of intelligibility, identifies which aspects of foreign accent and accent familiarity most negatively affect intelligibility and determines the various strategies these learners use to overcome intelligibility failure. The overall quantitative analysis shows that Iraqi EFL learners are intelligible at the speech production and perception levels. However, these two aspects of intelligibility are negatively affected by the existence of segmental phonemes in English and Arabic that have no counterpart in the other language and by unfamiliarity with the speaker’s accent. The qualitative analysis identifies several segmental phonemic contrasts of high functional loads which are responsible for intelligibility failure and a list of strategies the Iraqi EFL learners employ to overcome these failures.
... First, more work could be done on teachers' use of different IPS in different educational contexts (Chen, 2011). Second, participant demographics (e.g., language background, age, etc.) in Chinese pronunciation instruction classrooms could be explored to make the subject more generalizable to new learners (Marx, 2002;Moyer, 2013). But, we have to take into account that less research is available involving advanced CFL learners. ...
Article
The increasing attention on Chinese as a foreign language (CFL) pronunciation instruction gives us an opportunity to look into the current directions of teaching Chinese as a foreign language and the specific instructional pronunciation strategies employed by CFL teachers. This paper offers a review of empirical evidence on the use and impact of instructional pronunciation strategies in the CFL field from 1980 to 2019. Our findings reveal that: (1) controlled segmental-based strategies—such as comparative strategies, listening, and repeating strategies—are used widely and effectively to improve pronunciation of Chinese initials and finals; (2) suprasegmental-based strategies, especially computer-assisted strategies, largely improve CFL students’ tone accuracy; and (3) the validity of assessments in quantitative studies needs to be further developed by including comparative groups, making tests before and after instructions, and involving discourse assessment contents.
... A detected accent in language can signal differences 53 through "linguistic profiling" 54 and "accent bias." 55 Profiling may occur where a debriefer may unintentionally discriminate during a discussion. 56 On the other hand, "cultural forgiveness" may occur when a response is encountered that would not be acceptable if it was someone from the same culture and is forgiven when the debriefer dismisses it as a result of being "from a different culture." ...
Summary statement: Culture influences how we communicate, teach, and learn. Debriefings are laden with cultural influences. Without attention to cultural considerations, accepted debriefing techniques might not reach the desired outcome and, in certain cultures, may even harm teacher-learner relationships. We explore cultural considerations in healthcare simulation debriefing and offer guidance for debriefers to gain awareness of potential cultural biases.
... Other stories beyond biographical accounts are often collected through longitudinal studies; an example of this is accent acquisition. Moyer (2013) interrogates whether successful pronunciation instruction is just about learning a system of foreign sounds, and whether or not fluency is actually a precondition for forming deep social bonds. Such as in the example of "Julie" a British woman who married an Egyptian man and never took classes, and she was validated by her speech community to have done so within two years of residence. ...
Article
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Learners are not stakeholders in their own education. Adhering to the quantitative gold standard in English as a Second Language (ESL) deprives the learner from having a voice in their learning process. This paper addresses voicelessness and ventriloquism in ESL, ventriloquism referring to the act of voicing the thoughts of another person, in this case the system overriding the learners' experiences. This article addresses this problem, aligning itself with the Platinum standard while challenging the quantitative gold standard in ESL research. This paper offers resonance and semantic reliability as evaluative measures in educational research taken from literary criticism. The notion of resonance has been addressed in the literature on qualitative research since the dawn of the narrative turn; I address how resonance can be used in educational research. Keywords: Qualitative Research; Validity; Narrative Inquiry; Applied Linguistics; ESL/EFL
... The concept of attitude is a sub-branch of social psychology (Baker, 1992;Garrett, 2010), and is closely linked to ideologies and functions as "a pivotal concept in sociolinguistics" (Garrett, Coupland, & Williams, 2003, p. 2). Consequently, attitude is related to many sociolinguistic phenomena, such as language choice, sound changes and judging a person based on his or her accent (Moyer, 2013). People's attitudes in relation to a specific language variety mirror the social status of the language, as well as stereotypes about its community members. ...
Article
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With the expanding use of English around the world, it is important to understand various stakeholders' attitudes towards it from a Global Englishes (GE) perspective. The GE perspective has challenged native speakerism and recognized the multilingual nature of the English language. In particular, a GE perspective leads to the sustainable development of a language from both sociolinguistic and ecolinguistic perspectives. Echoing the diversity and complexity of the English language use and teaching, this paper investigates senior high school stu-dents' attitudes towards the local variety of English in China, and unpacks their negotiation and construction of identity through their English-language learning journey. Through a series of interviews, this study found that the students still perceive English as a school subject, and see themselves as perennial learners of English. As the GE perspective was not widely recognized, and that students have not developed their awareness of the global use of English, several implications of teaching English from the GE paradigm, from curriculum design and teaching materials, are provided to increase the awareness of the global use of English. This paper also highlights the importance of viewing the development of English from an ecolinguistic perspective for the sustainable development of the language.
... The perception of native versus nonnative teachers has been a subject of interest, particularly as studies have shown that NS teachers are viewed to be more competent instructors. This pattern has been revealed with NS students (Rubin 1992), NNS students (Lindemann Litzenberg & Subtierlu 2014), and even NNS teachers themselves (Moyer 2013). ...
Article
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Reverse linguistic stereotyping (RLS) has been shown to affect students’ attitudes towards non-native teachers as well as their performance and retention of information. This study investigates ESL students’ preconceived ideas about non-native English teachers. Seventy-one students enrolled in an intensive English programme at a southwestern university in the United States listened to two speech samples produced by an advanced non-native speaker. Using a matched guise technique, students were led to believe that there were two speakers: a Caucasian teacher and an East Asian one. Students showed proclivity to RLS as measured by their speech evaluations, their comprehension scores, and their teaching competence ratings. These findings help better understand learners’ perceptions of language proficiency and teaching competence of a non-native teacher in the context of globalization.
... This example is not intended to problematize such research from the perspective of multilingualism (see May, 2014). Nor do we intend to nullify discriminatory hiring practices that may occur on the basis of real or perceived accented speech (Moyer, 2013), including decision-making coloured by racial prejudice (e.g. influenced by an individual's phenotype, such as skin colour; Kubota & Lin, 2006). ...
Article
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In his philosophical novel, Thus spoke Zarathustra, Nietzsche (1883-85), famously wrote, 'God is dead,' signifying that God is no longer credible as an absolute moral compass. Over a century later, Paikeday (1985), proclaimed that The native speaker is dead! in his book title, implying that the native speaker as the arbiter of what is correct in a language is obsolete. This paper discusses this complex, contentious ideological issue from language assessment and sociolinguistic standpoints against the backdrop of global Englishes. After highlighting difficulties identifying standard language norms, we discuss the practical need of having some assessment standard against which to evaluate language performance. Proposals as to what that standard should be are then critiqued in view of ways that second language proficiency has been operationalized in assessment systems. Next, we argue against vilifying those who use the term 'native speaker' and consider terminological problems introduced by some reconceptualizing efforts. We argue that we have a long way to go as a field before reaching a truly post-native speaker era, which would seem to be a reasonable aspiration for most, but not necessarily all contexts, and propose recommendations for addressing pressing research problems. This includes standardizing terminology to incorporate semantically transparent terms, exploring assessment alternatives that focus more on TESOL QUARTERLY Vol. 0, No. 0, 0000
... English, on the other hand, is an aspirating language which means that it contrasts long VOT for fortis stops with short VOT for lenis stops (Lisker and Abramson 1964). Studies on younger L1 Polish learners of L2 English report that the VOT values in L2 English as produced by Polish speakers may not reach native speaker levels (Waniek-Klimczak 2005) but it is a learnable parameter (Moyer 2013). Once the extent to which senior Polish learners of English are able to produce English VOT is established, the second aim of the paper is to decide whether they also experience L1 drift. ...
Article
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Although research on foreign language learning among seniors has recently accelerated, studies on L2 phonology in this age group remain scarce. Seniors may be at a great disadvantage when it comes to learning the sounds of a foreign language because age of onset has been shown to correlate negatively with ultimate attainment especially for phonology (Piske et al. 2001). However, this is all the more reason to attempt a better understanding of the mechanisms of senior. This paper offers an attempt at shedding light on how senior learners with an age of L2 onset above 60 produce voiced and voiceless L2 word-initial stops. Twenty L1 Polish senior learners of English were asked to read a list of words containing word-initial voiced and voiceless plosives in their L2 English at A2+/B1 level according to CEFR. The results show that the senior Polish learners of English produce an in-between category for the English stops (with VOT longer than for Polish, but shorter than native English). The senior learners also experienced L1 drift, but mostly in the voiceless L1 Polish stops.
... Thirdly, the study shows that the teachers held strongly to the belief that intelligibility rather than native-like proficiency should be the ultimate goal in L2 pronunciation teaching, a belief that is widely supported by leading scholars of the field such as Couper (2017), Derwing and Munro (2015), Moyer (2013), and Munro (2010). However, their belief that an instructional focus on segmentals rather than prosody was the way to achieve that goal does not align with previous studies. ...
Article
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Recent research in English as a second language (ESL) contexts has shown pronunciation teaching to be undervalued and often overlooked both in published textbooks and teachers' classroom practice, despite growing research evidence for the efficacy of appropriately structured pronunciation teaching. The current study extends research on this topic into an English as a foreign language (EFL) context where it has hitherto been underexamined, namely tertiary EFL in Vietnam. The study investigates the beliefs and pronunciation teaching practices of six EFL teachers at a Vietnamese university. Data includes non-participant observations and video-recordings of twelve 45-minute EFL lessons taught by these teachers. Classroom observations were followed-up by individual interviews involving stimulated recall and general questions about beliefs and perspectives concerning pronunciation teaching. Interviews were transcribed and translated into English for content-based analysis. The results show that the teachers' pronunciation teaching was typically unplanned and reactive, involving corrective feedback through recasts and/or prompts in response to learners' pronunciation errors of segmental features. The study also shows that the teachers lacked initial training and professional learning opportunities in pronunciation pedagogy and that contextual factors appeared to constrain their pronunciation teaching.
... Historically, pronunciation goals in second language (L2) teaching have focused either on accent reduction or intelligibility. However, Moyer (2013) and Munro and Derwing (2011) have pointed out that it is very difficult for adult learners to obtain native-like pronunciation. In reality, the possibility, if any, is limited to very few individuals who are exceedingly motivated (Celce-Murcia, Brinton, & Goodwin, 2010;Cunningham, 2009) and/or show special aptitude in language learning (Abrahamsson & Hyltenstam, 2008;Baker Smemoe & Haslam, 2013). ...
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As part of a larger scale research project, the study reported in this paper investigated Vietnamese EFL learners' pronunciation instructional needs from both teaching and learning perspectives. Data included individual interviews with six EFL teachers and focus group interviews with twenty-four students at a Vietnamese university. Interviews were transcribed and translated into English for content-based analysis. The results show that both the teachers and students valued the importance of pronunciation in English learning and suggested that pronunciation needs to be taught explicitly and systematically. The findings also show that teachers and students would prefer that pronunciation teaching focus on genuine communication using a communicative pronunciation teaching approach to facilitate learners' general communicative purposes.
... Accent can further unearth the region and the country where a person comes from. According to Moyer (2013), accent is a fluid, contextualized expression of our personal and social identity as well as our communicative stance. As cited in Barratt and Mahboob's book, Derwing et al. (2014) characterized accent as the phonological characteristics of speech. ...
Conference Paper
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This study delves into the attitudes of Turkish teachers of English on the tolerability of L1 accent in foreign language teacher education. It ascertains the determinants that have an impact on the employment of L1 accent in teacher education. The data were gathered through a survey questionnaire completed by teachers of English with various years of experience who work in different institutions ranging from state schools to universities, and analyzed through descriptive statistics. The findings of the study demonstrated that the majority of the participants agreed that they had to adopt at least near-native-like accent as part of their professional identity. It was further shown that Turkish teachers of English believed that they could reduce or eliminate foreign accent through formal instruction and accent-breaking techniques. The study also found that a vast majority of Turkish teachers of English consider that L1 accent should not be allowed in foreign language learning and teaching. However, considering that this is a pilot study, further research is required in order to corroborate the findings and find out the chances of employing the L2 accent in foreign language teacher education.
... defined accent as "loose bundles of prosodic and segmental features distributed over geographic and/or social space" (p. 42) which is an evident marker of the social class of the speaker and the geographical position of the speech community(MOYER, 2013;SUNG, 2013). Therefore, an accent not only can identify a person in terms of social characteristics, but also it can define a speaker in terms of belonging to particular social groups (SMIT;DALTON, 2000;WALKER, 2010). ...
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This study explores the influence of IELTS examiners' New Zealand accent(aka, Kiwi accent) on the speaking performance of 45 men and women Iranian IELTS candidates within the framework of communication accommodation theory (CAT) from the post-structuralism perspective in which identity is considered to be a dynamic approach. This is a mixed-method explanatory sequential design in which the candidates' speaking scores on a real IELTS test were compared to their scores on a mock test through employing a paired-samples t-test for each group of language proficiency (B2, C1, and C2). A semi-structured interview was also conducted to extract information about participants' feelings when facing the Kiwi examiners. The results revealed that 1) the candidates' self-identification and 2) their level of proficiency indicated how their performance was influenced by the Kiwi examiners' accent. Participants with B2 (band score 5.5-6.5) and C1 (band score 7-8) proficiency, Kiwi accent accentuated the differences of ethnicity and identity. They also attended to L1 cultural issues as a barrier. None of these issues were found in C2 participants (band score 8.5-9).IELTS instructors are to consider the candidates' identity features and cover all the main accents of English native speakers in their preparation programs.
... The results of the present study may help to better understand the neural correlates of foreign accent. While simultaneous bilinguals usually speak in a native or native-like accent in their languages, most sequential bilinguals speak L2 with a foreign accent, even if they perform similar to natives on the lexical and grammatical level (Moyer, 2013). A foreign accent is characterized by deviations in pronunciation compared to the norms of native speech (Gut, 2009), mostly due to phonetic and phonological mismatches between L1 and L2 and caused by interference or transfer of pronunciation rules (Yavas, 2009). ...
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Bilingualism and multilingualism are highly prevalent. Non-invasive brain imaging has been used to study the neural correlates of native and non-native speech and language production, mainly on the lexical and syntactic level. Here, we acquired continuous fast event-related FMRI during visually cued overt production of exclusively German and English vowels and syllables. We analyzed data from 13 university students, native speakers of German and sequential English bilinguals. The production of non-native English sounds was associated with increased activity of the left primary sensorimotor cortex, bilateral cerebellar hemispheres (lobule VI), left inferior frontal gyrus, and left anterior insula compared to native German sounds. The contrast German > English sounds was not statistically significant. Our results emphasize that the production of non-native speech requires additional neural resources already on a basic phonological level in sequential bilinguals.
... We agree that framing and terminology do matter; in that spirit, we offer a critique of "A Viewpoint on 1 Throughout the article, the term "accented speakers" will be set in quotation marks to highlight the fact that accents are a perceptual phenomenon with no inherent set of phonetic properties. As such, the so-called "accented speaker" is a perceptual construct that arises only in relationship to listeners and their judgments (Lippi-Green, 2012;Moyer, 2013;Planchenault & Poljak, 2021). Accent Services" and discuss why appropriating critical terminology in the absence of engagement with critical inquiry and action results in masking a problematic practice. ...
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Purpose: In this commentary, we offer a critique of "A Viewpoint on Accent Services: Framing and Terminology Matter" (Grover et al., 2022). We argue that the authors' proposal to rename and reframe accent modification lacks criticality, which actually hinders-rather than advances-the movement toward equitable, culturally sustaining, and emancipatory practices. Method: We offer an analysis of the shortfall between the authors' calls for linguistic justice in "A Viewpoint on Accent Services" and the actual changes they proposed. We break down major gaps in criticality, reflexivity, practice, and vision and discuss their potential for undercutting meaningful progress as it relates to linguistic justice. Results: We found that the frameworks for the pursuit of equity, cultural sustenance, and emancipatory practices were misrepresented in the article in such a way that suggests that these goals could be achieved through superficial changes in terminology and attitudes. "A Viewpoint on Accent Services" upholds a power-neutral frame of operation that does not address the deeper systemic forces that make accent modification problematic. The lack of criticality toward accent intervention fosters complacency toward real transformation. Conclusion: We advocate for a serious and critical interrogation of accent practices and commitment to an emancipatory practice that addresses linguistic discrimination above all else. We emphasize the need to decenter standardized languages and to co-envision linguistic liberation using critical methods in scholarship, pedagogy, clinical practice, and policy.
... More than any other language skill, pronunciation seems to be prone to conflicts arising from this predicament. In this respect, adults are often particularly sensitive to their own ego boundaries, whereas children tend to mimic new sounds without inhibition or reflection on wider implications (Moyer, 2013). As a consequence, adult learners who find it difficult to identify with a certain foreign language and culture are generally more inclined to, consciously or unconsciously, retain a foreign accent as a marker of group affiliation (e.g., ...
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Many theorists have proposed a link between second language (L2) learners’ attitudes towards their own foreign accent and their perception of identity. The field of adult L2 pronunciation learning and teaching is particularly susceptible to struggles arising from this predicament since acquiring an L2 accent often entails re-negotiating one’s already established identity. This chapter investigates university students’ attitudes towards their foreign accent in English and the relationship between identity perceptions and achievement in adult pronunciation learning. A purposefully designed questionnaire was given to two groups of English language students enrolled in a university pronunciation course taking either what is commonly referred to as ‘British English’ (BE) or ‘General American English’ (AE) as their model. The qualitative and quantitative data collected in this project were then matched with the grade the students received at the end of the pronunciation class to reveal any potential relationships. Overall, the findings showed that the students in this course are not afflicted by a fear of loss of identity. Their main objective is to speak with the best possible approximation of the chosen model and those who set higher goals in this regard also tend to receive better grades.
... English speaker should acquire a perfect pronunciation of the English RP accent (Moyer, 2013). Thus, any phonetic deviations from the norms set by this native English accent should not be ignored as they cause failure in speech production and perception. ...
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La grande distance entre les systèmes phonologiques et phonétiques français et chinois fait que les difficultés des apprenants sinophones s’avèrent considérables et hétérogènes dans leur acquisition de la prononciation des sons du français, eu égard à la diversité des dialectes de leur région d’origine. Cette recherche est consacrée à éclaircir les processus d’apprentissage de la prononciation des voyelles orales du français, surtout les particularités des étudiants de Pékin, de Shanghai et de Canton et à proposer des améliorations pour l’enseignement et l’apprentissage de la prononciation en Chine. Pour ce faire, une série d’enregistrements des voyelles orales du français a été réalisée avec trois groupes d’étudiants débutants originaires respectivement de Pékin, Shanghai et Canton. Après avoir réalisé des analyses acoustiques des productions, nous avons observé que grâce à son riche répertoire vocalique, le shanghaïen est plus proche des caractéristiques phonétiques des voyelles du français, comparativement aux deux autres dialectes. La neutralisation des voyelles moyennes apparaît évidente et est omniprésente dans les productions des apprenants des trois dialectes chinois. Les apprenants de Pékin et de Canton ont une tendance plus marquée à diphtonguer les voyelles [e] ([ei]) et [o] ([ou]) que ceux de Shanghai. Une réflexion de la didactique de la prononciation et la remédiation corrective a été ensuite menée. Pour que les enseignants et les apprenants prennent en considération les difficultés des dialectes chinois, quelques méthodes d’enseignement de la prononciation et de correction phonétique des voyelles orales du français sont ainsi proposées.
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The series is the expression of the Center for Research on Teaching of Languages, which in Edizioni Ca’ Foscari also has a magazine, Linguistics Education - Language Education, EL.LE, and a necklace, Intercultural Communication, COMINT, dedicated to this important but overlooked aspect of language mastery. In the series, the volumes of which are approved by three blind referees before publication, are three types of search space: a. studies on the epistemologic nature of the science that studies language education, in the wider meaning that includes Italian mother tongue, second and foreign, modern languages and classical ones; b. operational studies on methods, strategies, language teaching methodologies; c. quantitative and qualitative surveys on particular aspects of language teaching in the various training areas. The collection hosts studies of scholars working both at Ca’ Foscari University and in other institutions.
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Makassar, the capital of South Sulawesi, contains a rare set of language contact and sociolinguistic language interaction occurrences. Although the Indonesian government has nationalized Bahasa Indonesia, several ethnic languages are still spoken. Nationalism is a “superordinate” and “ideologized” statement that aims to define a socio-ethnic identity. Nationalism unites and ideologizes multiethnic nations. Thus, Bahasa Indonesia is used to unite and shape the ideas of people from many different ethnic groups across Indonesia. However, in Makassar, ethnic languages are used to identify ethnic group membership. The city’s inhabitants often speak Makassarese, Makassar Malay, Bugis, and Selayarese languages. This study will highlight the sociolinguistic consequences of language contact in Makassar, such as language maintenance and loss, code-switching and code-mixing, as well as the phenomena of bilingualism and multilingualism. This work assumes that the adoption of Bahasa Indonesia as a national language did not consider the cultural conservatism of other ethnic languages.
Article
Particular durable second language (L2) pronunciation distinctions of speakers who belong to the same first language (L1) community serve as their instant audio-identification markers, creating their typical phonetic portrait. Deviations in non-native English as a foreign language (EFL) teacher pronunciation remain a vibrant area of research due to their impact on speech intelligibility and comprehensibility, their pragmatic and emotional potential in oral verbal communication. The purpose of this contribution was to establish standard pronunciation deviations in academic speech of Ukrainian EFL teachers, thus depicting their phonetic portrait. A research methodology included acoustic and auditory analyses of pronunciation of British and Ukrainian speakers of English. The findings showed that Ukrainian EFL teachers display a set of common pronunciation distinctions: on the tonal level of the beginning and the end of the intonation group, tonal range, interval, rate and tone movement change in different parts of the intonation group, volume realization, speech rate; lack of qualitative and quantitative differences in the pronunciation of long and short monophthongs in stressed and unstressed syllables, full pronunciation of unstressed vowels. The results will find their application in EFL teacher education programs and further research of the accented speech nature.
Article
In this paper, we present a multidisciplinary study addressing fairness in the speaking test in a high-stakes language proficiency test in Finnish, National Certificates of Language Proficiency. The background of the research lies in studies on language assessment and (reversal) linguistic stereotyping and language attitudes. The focus L1 groups were Thai, Estonian, Finland Swedish, Arabic and Russian. Altogether 49 speech samples of test takers of these L1s were rated on a digital platform by 44 raters of the test system. The current paper reports on the sub-study that investigated whether the raters’ recognition of the test takers’ L1 affected their ratings and whether the effect differed across various assessment criteria.
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International teaching assistants (ITAs) are criticized for having ‘unintelligible’ accents for professional communication in Global North English-medium universities. Furthermore, this criticism takes a racist form as it is frequently directed at racially minoritized ITAs. This article complicates this narrative by considering how the disciplinary cultures in which ITAs work influence racist perceptions of and expectations about their accents. Drawing on interviews with engineering ITAs in Ontario, Canada, the article details how the communication conventions and gendered racism of engineering made the ITAs’ accents professionally inadequate and outlined what they should sound like. This was done through microaggression learning, the informal learning that the ITAs underwent through experiencing microaggressions based on raciolinguistic ideologies and engineering norms. The article concludes by suggesting reforms within engineering to combat the linguistic and gendered racism of the field.
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This study investigated what psychological and social factors predict ‘perceived nativelikeness’ in late second language (L2) learners of French (L1 Swedish) ( N = 62) with a minimum length of residence (LOR) of 5 years in France. The included factors were: language aptitude (LLAMA), acculturation (VIA), personality (MPQ), target language engagement and social networks (number of relations in L2). LOR and Length of French studies were also included as extraneous variables. Multiple linear regression analyses showed that positive effects were found for LLAMA D (sound recognition), acculturation (VIA France and VIA Sweden), number of relations in L2 and LOR. A negative effect was found for the personality variable Social initiative. The strongest effects were found for LLAMA D, Social initiative and LOR. All variables together explained 25% (adjusted R²) of the variance in the sample, which represents medium-sized effects in relation to other studies on individual factors. In sum, these findings confirm results from earlier studies on the importance of language aptitude and acculturation in late L2 acquisition. They also add evidence of the importance of personality, social networks, and LOR. On a more general note psychological and social factors combine to explain different outcomes in adult L2 acquisition, although the effects of psychological variables are deemed somewhat stronger.
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The fundamental reason for this survey is to point out the challenges encountered by the teachers, students, schools, and parents in facing and handling oral speech communication subjects during the pandemic. Given that, most of the medium of instruction used is distance learning. It poses issues and concerns about how our respondents dealt with the situation. A descriptive-survey research design was used to obtain themes and phenomena to the questions provided. The questionnaire includes questions that seek to gather information on their basic profile, current experiences, and behavior towards the problem. It was found out that the different problems encountered by the teachers, students, school, and parents include the validity of the issue, the lack of motivation which was a very complicated problem because it deals with emotional readiness and stability, and the difficulty in comprehending the topics of the module because lessons are not explained personally by the teachers. Therefore, oral speech communication requires an in-depth shift in lesson delivery to cater to the needs for improvement.
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Bilingualism and multilingualism are highly prevalent. Non-invasive brain imaging has been used to study the neural correlates of native (L1) and non-native (L2) speech and language production, mainly on the lexical and syntactic level. Here, we acquired continuous fast event-related FMRI during visually cued overt production of exclusively German and English vowels and syllables. We analyzed data from 13 university students, native speakers of German and sequential English bilinguals. The production of non-native English sounds was associated with increased activity of the left primary sensori-motor cortex, bilateral cerebellar hemispheres (lobule VI), left inferior frontal gyrus, and left anterior insula compared to native German sounds. The contrast German > English sounds was not statistically significant. Our results emphasize that the production of non-native speech requires additional neural resources already on a basic phonological level in sequential bilinguals.
Article
In an effort to foreground the concept of linguicism, this article provides a critical review of the research literature on linguistic discrimination, focusing on common concepts and terms applied to characterise the issue. Giving particular attention to studies which directly consider discrimination based on language or linguistic factors, we identify three main groups of concepts and terms which are widely used, including (a) race-based concepts, (b) language variation-based concepts and (c) general terms. The construction, meaning and usage of the concept of ‘linguicism’ are discussed separately from these three groups. Although race-based concepts, language variation-based concepts and general terms are extremely useful for particular research purposes, they may not be applicable to describe all or other forms of linguistic discrimination. It is argued that linguicism is a powerful theoretical construct, which can be used as an umbrella concept to capture the full range of linguistic discrimination issues. Suggestions are also presented for future research in relation to social factors associated with linguistic discrimination and research context, which is important to shed light on otherwise potentially unheard voices in linguistic discrimination scholarship.
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Within the relatively new area of research on Third Language (L3) Acquisition, the subfield of phonology is growing, but still relatively understudied. Testing the current L3 models adopted from research on L3 syntax (see Rothman 2010, Bardel & Falk 2012, Flynn et al. 2004), the studies conducted in the area have mostly focused on the source and directionality of language transfer – both into the L3 and into the respective background languages – with some recent excursions into the role of extra-linguistic factors for multilingual learners (e.g., Wrembel 2015). The findings so far (mostly on production, with perception lagging behind) have been very diverse and, depending on the concrete study, can often be taken to give evidence for any of the prevalent models. This can be attributed to the wide range of different speaker and learner biographies as well as their language combinations and state of acquisition, but crucially the dilemma seems to be inherent in the (phonological) system in and of itself since viewing phonological interlanguage transfer as a one-dimensional and immediately transparent process based on direct correspondences between language systems does not seem to capture the complex nature of the phenomenon. In this doctoral thesis I investigate the acquisition of an additional phonological system by child and adult German heritage speakers of Turkish. Specifically, I explore how the learners deal with diverse phonological contrasts that promote positive contra negative transfer from their HL (Turkish) and their L2 (German), and how their perception and production is modulated by cognitive and affective variables. Moreover, I test contrasts that can be found neither in the HL nor in the L2 phonological system. The studies will shed light both on the question of how a new language is shaped and affected by different existing systems and on how two or more phonological grammars co-exist and/or interact in a speaker’s mind. I will argue that, rather than being regarded as simple full projection of language-specific property sets onto the target language, phonological transfer in multilinguals needs to be considered as a process of complex interactions and layers that are established on the level of individual phonological properties and abstract (typological) associations.
Article
This study examines L2 speakers’ accent attitudes in relation to their linguistic profile and current practices, recruiting 107 multilingual postgraduate students of 34 different nationalities enrolled in leading research universities in Japan. The participants completed a survey regarding their perceptions of different English varieties in English as a lingua franca (ELF) contexts. Interviews were additionally conducted to solicit in-depth perspectives on their accent attitudes and contextual accent variation. Factor analysis of the survey data generally supported the thematic trends observed during the interviews, in which three-quarters of the interviewees expressed a wish to attain native-like English accents. However, those who aspire to native-like pronunciation do not necessarily maintain negative attitudes towards others who speak with foreign accents. Rather, they appear indifferent to others’ accents and varieties of World Englishes, and they do not associate their accents with nationhood or cultural identity. Thematic analysis of the interview data revealed that participants’ pressing need to sound native-like stems from not only pragmatic considerations such as better intelligibility but also their context specificities, which entail frequent high-stakes ELF interaction and arrangements for professional entry in the imminent future. These observations imply that a linguistic hierarchy still lingers in the World Englishes paradigm.
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Though it is crucial for the development of ESL / EFL learners' speech perception and production, pronunciation is almost neglected in the English textbooks used at Iraqi schools. This negligence is both in terms of content and instruction. In such textbooks, very little pronunciation materials can be found and very limited time for practice is available for the teacher. This article aims to overcome the above shortcoming of English textbooks at Iraqi schools by setting priorities in English pronunciation based on the Functional Load principle. For this aim, an investigation is carried out following a qualitative methodology. The qualitative results have identified a set of phonemic priorities for the teaching of English pronunciation in Iraqi schools. These priorities represent high and low phonemic loads which can enrich the English textbooks in Iraqi schools and guide in some way the teaching of pronunciation.
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Originating in the 1960’s with the work of William Labov, the field of sociolinguistics has given way to a rich literature that continues to uncover the many ways in which social factors influence how we produce, perceive, and process speech. Sociolinguistic research has burgeoned alongside increasing globalization and migration, which has, in the case of the U.S. at least, resulted in increased levels of bilingualism and more frequent interactions with non-native English speakers. My dissertation, which consists of three distinct chapters, combines insights from the sociolinguistic literature with methodologies from cognitive science in order to better understand the ways in which perceptions of identity and social attitudes towards nonstandard language varieties influence our everyday spoken interactions. More specifically, I investigate how several social factors (i.e. language background, dialect stigmatization, and speaker accent) may influence speech production, perception, and processing. The data presented come from over sixty fieldwork interviews, a series of corpus analyses, two online surveys, and one neurolinguistic experiment. In the first paper, I identify how social factors have appeared to influence auxiliary verb choice among some Ecuadorian Spanish speakers. While the markedly frequent use of auxiliary ir, Sp. ‘to go’ in Ecuadorian Spanish has historically been traced to contact effects from Quichua, analysis of a present-day Ecuadorian Spanish corpus reveals that Quichua-Spanish bilinguals do not use the construction significantly more than Spanish monolinguals. Given auxiliary ir may be marked as a slightly nonstandard alternative for the auxiliary estar and that Quichua-Spanish bilinguals have long been denied linguistic prestige in the sociolinguistic stratification of Ecuadorian Spanish, I propose the possibility that language background and dialect stigmatization may explain the current distribution of auxiliary ir production among Ecuadorian Spanish speakers. In the second chapter, I investigate the relationship between speaker accents and American perceptions of nativeness. Specifically, I examined how young adult Midwesterners today perceive two main kinds of Spanish-influenced English varieties: L1 Latino English (as spoken in Chicago, U.S.) and L2 Spanish-accented English (as spoken in Santiago, Chile). Since Latinos have recently become the dominant ethnic minoritized group in the U.S., the varieties of English that they speak are under increasing scrutiny, and cases of linguistic discrimination are on the rise. Results from an accent evaluation survey reveal that respondents distinguished the L1 Latino English from the L2 Spanish-influenced English speaker, but still rated him as slightly more foreign-sounding than L1 speakers with more established U.S. dialects (e.g. New York). In other words, native U.S. speakers perceived as “sounding Hispanic” were perceived as sounding “almost American,” which suggests that what Midwesterners count as sounding American may be in the process of expanding to include U.S.-born Latinos. In the third chapter, I focus on the effect that speaker accent has on online word processing in the brain. Specifically, does Spanish-accented English speech increase activation of the Spanish lexicon in the mind of Spanish-English bilingual listeners? Though more data is needed for a clear answer, preliminary data from an EEG experiment suggests that speaker accent may possibly modulate bilingual lexical activation. This is investigated via analysis of N400 responses from bilingual listeners when false cognates from Spanish were produced by a Spanish-accented English speaker relative to a Chinese-accented English speaker.
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With the obligatory Practical Phonetics and Oral Communication Skills (PPOCS) 1 and 2 courses, the English Language Competence (ELC) programme at the Department of English and American Studies at the University of Vienna has a distinct oral communication strand. In addition to a solid grounding in practical phonetics, the PPOCS module aims to ensure that graduates of the bachelor’s programmes are expert users of spoken English in its productive and interactive forms. This involves not only highly proficient language use but also a good working knowledge of the main principles of spoken language and familiarity with spoken English in its various stylistic, contextual, social, and regional forms.
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This article reviews David Singleton’s books and articles published during the period 2014–2020. The first section concerns a popular book which he co-authored with Vivian Cook; the second gives an account of articles covering questions about the concept of language aptitude; the third deals with articles on the manner in which a learner’s competencies in different languages interact; the fourth section then summarizes his recent age-related work on second language learning in childhood, adolescence and midlife; and the fifth deals with his contributions on language learning in senior adulthood.
Presentation
Paper presented at the 12th Pronunciation in Second Langauge Learning and Teaching (PSLLT)
Article
This study explores the identity positions that L2 English learners/users would take in case of hypothetical miscommunications. Based on positioning theory, at the time of L2 interaction, L2 learners assign themselves and others specific positions which are established through their learning experiences. It was hypothesized that their current positional identities would impact their communication abilities in their future L2 realities. The study investigated this hypothesis by asking 49 Japanese college students to describe potential triggers for L2 miscommunication in two scenarios: an L1 and an L2 English speaker, and two L2 English speakers. The analysis shows that participants assign themselves in distinctive positional identities of a subordinate English user (non-native deficit L2 English user in a traditional sense) in the L1-L2 miscommunication, and an equal identity in the L2-L2 scenarios. Consequently, the study discusses a critical understanding of L2 learner positional identity with respect to socio-cultural and ideological attributes.
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This article provides an introduction to the themed section “Linguistic Justice, Migration and the Nation-State.” First, it illustrates the rationale for the themed section by examining the relationship between language, migration and the nation-state. It argues that accounts of linguistic justice that fail to incorporate, discuss and understand the language interests of migrants, and the potential tensions that may emerge between migrants' linguistic rights and duties, and between their linguistic rights and those of autochthonous groups, are likely to become obsolete in an increasingly mobile world. Second, it provides an overview of the articles in the themed section. And, finally, it highlights four specific areas of inquiry that should deserve greater attention in future scholarship.
Article
In social interaction, foreign language accent and comprehensibility impact how we perceive our conversational partners. In recent years, research interest in these constructs has been on the rise, while many issues remain underexposed. These issues include the relationship between comprehension and accent on the one hand, and background variables of both learner and assessor on the other. Since most research to date has been conducted with highly educated and advanced learners of English as a second or foreign language, we do not know to what extent those results can be generalised to a wider population that includes beginning learners of Dutch as a second language from various educational backgrounds. In addition, little research has been done into the comparability of the judgements of trained and non-trained assessors. In the current study, we compared the judgments of four trained evaluators with the intuitive judgments of 272 non-trained evaluators (first-year students at various Educational Bachelor’s Programmes in Primary Education). The first group of raters evaluated the speaking performance of 116 learners of Dutch as a second language using standardised criteria, the second group used more subjective criteria. The results show that the two groups of evaluators make very similar judgements and that these judgements are mainly related to two background variables: the nature of the NT2 course the learners followed (also an indicator of prior education and cognitive ability) and the level of language proficiency of the course.
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en Although pronunciation is part of the curriculum in many EFL education programs, it is often neglected in instruction. The study's rationale was to fill the literature gap and explore Saudi EFL learners’ confidence, attitudes, and practice towards learning pronunciation. To this end, the study recruited a convenience sample of 336 Saudi EFL learners majoring in English at a university in Saudi Arabia. Statistical analyses were conducted to determine: (i) learners’ pronunciation confidence level; (ii) whether enrollment in phonetic courses, travel to English-speaking countries, and attitudes towards pronunciation affected learners’ confidence in their pronunciation; and (iii) learners’ reported pronunciation attitudes and practices. It was found that learners in this study have higher than neutral confidence in their pronunciation and hold a highly positive attitude towards English native-like pronunciation. Interestingly, this study showed no statistically significant difference between those who had taken a phonetic(s) course and those who had not in terms of their confidence in their pronunciation. Therefore, this study urges instructors be aware of their learners’ needs in pronunciation, present appropriate materials, and further opportunities to practice various strategies. الملخص ur على الرغم من أن النطق جزء من المنهج الدراسي في العديد من برامج تعليم اللغة الإنجليزية كلغة أجنبية، إلا أنه غالبًا ما يتم تجاهله في التدريس. تهدف هذه الدراسة الى سد الفجوة الأدبية واستكشاف ثقة متعلمي اللغة الإنجليزية كلغة أجنبية ومواقفهم وممارستهم تجاه تعلم النطق. ولهذه الغاية، جندت الدراسة عينة ملائمة من 336 طالبا سعوديًا يتخصصون في تعلم اللغة الإنجليزية كلغة أجنبية في إحدى جامعات المملكة العربية السعودية. تم إجراء التحليلات الإحصائية لتحديد 1) مستوى ثقة الطلاب في نطق اللغة الإنجليزية، 2) ما إذا كان التسجيل في مواد لتدريس النطق، والسفر إلى البلدان الناطقة باللغة الإنجليزية، والمواقف تجاه النطق تؤثر على ثقة المتعلمين في نطقهم، و3) اتجاهات وممارسات الطلاب للنطق. لقد وجدت الدراسة أن الطلاب لديهم ثقة أعلى من الحيادية في نطقهم ولديهم موقف إيجابي تجاه النطق الأصلي للغة الإنجليزية. ومن المثير للاهتمام أن هذه الدراسة أظهرت عدم وجود فرق ذي دلالة إحصائية بين أولئك الذين درسوا مواد (دورات) النطق وأولئك الذين لم يكن لديهم من حيث ثقتهم في النطق. لذلك، تحث هذه الدراسة المدربين على أن يكونوا على دراية باحتياجات المتعلمين في النطق، وتقديم المواد المناسبة، والمزيد من الفرص لممارسة الاستراتيجيات المختلفة. التدريس ثنائي اللغة، اللغة الإنجليزية كلغة أجنبية، نطق اللغة الإنجليزية، معتقدات الطلاب، تعليم النطق، اكتساب اللغة الثانية
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It is well known that adult learners have great difficulty when attempting to learn the sounds of a second language (L2), as observed in the phenomenon commonly known as “foreign-accented speech.” Despite the fact that adults have well-developed cognitive capabilities and have superior abilities for many complex learning and problem solving tasks, if the task is to learn the sound system of a language, adults are generally outperformed by children. How can we explain this paradox? This chapter builds a case to show that the explanation crucially involves perception.
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Negative attitudes toward foreign-accented speech have led to discrimination against second-language users in Canada. This article reviews aspects of the Canadian human rights process as they pertain to language and accent, and identifies three types of accent discrimination arising in human rights cases: discrimination in employment due to inappropriate concern with accent, discrimination due to accent stereotyping, and harassment based on accent. It is argued that ESL teachers can work to stop this kind of discrimination by developing an understanding of the role of accent in communication and by promoting informed attitudes toward second-language users' speech, in both the classroom and the community.
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Empirical research since the 1970s has supported the claim that elements of L2 performance decline with increasing age. The question of whether this evidence supports the CPH in its original formulation, however, remains debatable. This state of affairs is largely attributable to researchers' different foci in their investigation of the CPH's implications for L2 learning and to their varied interpretation of the data. In addition, research has identified a significant number of learners whose L2 acquisition began late but who nonetheless achieved nativelike L2 proficiency; thus the evidence from research in this area does not preclude successful L2 acquisition by all late learners. Recent research on sex differences in language suggests that there may indeed be an underlying difference in processing between males and females, possibly modulated by hormones. Specifically, the declarative/procedural model claims that due to a verbal memory advantage, females tend to memorize previously encountered complex forms (e.g., regular past tense forms) in the declarative system, while males tend to rule-compute them in the procedural system in real time. Recall that no difference is posited in processing of memorized forms, which are subserved by the declarative system in both sexes. This difference has not yet been widely tested, but preliminary evidence does support the notion. Furthermore, these sex differences have important implications for how males and females learn and process an L2 and should be taken into consideration in the analyses of SLA research, especially from a processing perspective. Memory has long been implicated as an integral part of language learning aptitude. Models of WM that have emerged since the 1970s and 1980s include mechanisms and processes that are closely tied to language acquisition, and thus these models have provided a productive direction for research in both aptitude and language acquisition to take. Experimental studies have shown evidence of a relationship between WM capacity and several aspects of language learning, and the field is moving closer to theoretical consensus on the construct of WM. It is important for future research, however, to define the limits of the construct as well as the functions and subsystems that are implicated in WM. And as the theory evolves in this way, it must continue to inform researchers as they seek to refine the instruments they use to evaluate WM in empirical research. Just like typists, chess players, and computer programmers, experienced (bilingual) language learners appear to have an advantage when compared to novice (monolingual) learners. As with most complex phenomena, a number of factors need to be brought into the equation in order to be adequately explained. Attitude, motivation, and degree of bilingualism are just a few of those factors. From an information-processing perspective, however, processing strategies, metalinguistic knowledge, and WM capacity are posited to contribute to the superior performance of bilinguals over monolinguals when it comes to learning other languages. © 2005 by The Georgetown University Press. All rights reserved.
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This study was designed to determine how ethnicity, the amount of perceived accent or dialect, and comprehensibility affect a speaker's employability. Sixty human resource specialists judged 3 female potential applicants. The applicants represented speakers of Spanish-influenced English, Asian-influenced English, and African American Vernacular English. When the speaker's perceived accent or dialect was minimal, perceived ethnicity did not affect employability. However, all speakers with maximally perceived accents or dialects were given a lower employability rating. Thus, speakers with a maximally perceived accent or dialect should consider accent or dialectal modification if their comprehensibility or prospective employability is compromised. © 2006 by the American Counseling Association. All rights reserved.
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Variation is a topic that is increasingly occupying the attention of phonologists. This chapter first defines what we mean by phonological variation and explains how it is typically investigated by conventional phonologists and by sociolinguists. We suggest that the two groups differ markedly in the areas of variation that they have explored. We then look at how phonological variability is acquired by young children as part of their first language, concluding that it is acquired simultaneously with other aspects of phonology. We consider how variability in child-directed speech might affect the acquisition of phonology — and of variability. We follow the individual through childhood and adolescence to adulthood and ask how a person’s phonology might change as a result of changing linguistic allegiances. The final section addresses the importance of variation to language change and asks whether sound change is predictable.
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This chapter explores the origins and history of American English, with an underlying focus on its linguistic diversity. Guaiacum, taken from the Taino language in the Bahamas in 1533, was the first American word to enter the English language. But, as Richard W. Bailey notes, English speakers migrating to the North American mainland and the Caribbean from the seventeenth century on had many other contacts with Native American languages, and influences from Native American languages on American English vocabulary were extensive. They include words like chocolate, canoe, and powwow, which have survived to the present day, and words like mangummenauk (an edible acorn) and netop (‘a good friend’), which have not survived. This chapter surveys the population growth and linguistic development of the USA century by century, repeatedly acknowledging the inputs from its various ethnic strands: for example, bogus (African), juke-box (African American), cookie (Dutch), bayou (French), macaroni (Italian), geisha (Japanese), vigilante (Spanish), lutefish(Swedish), and bagel (Yiddish). American English is more than the sum of inheritances from its input languages, of course, and this chapter details its many innovations, including initialisms like AIDS, manufactured words like Kleenex, derived forms like antinuclear, compounds like rock star, and shortenings like bra. But at the heart of the story throughout is the relative multilingualism and multidialectalism of the USA and its corresponding linguistic attitudes and ideologies. In the seventeenth century, for instance, pidgin-like varieties of English were exemplified among both Amerindian and African speakers, and there was open respect for linguistic diversity and substantial interest in it.
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This chapter explores a topic of enduring interest to many Americans (and their counterparts in England): the distinctiveness of American English vis-à-vis British English. After cautioning that we should be careful to consider features in comparable registers or situations (e.g., newspaper writing with newspaper writing and conversation with conversation), Edward Finegan launches into a discussion of vocabulary differences on either side of the Atlantic. Many of the examples he discusses involve automobiles, traffic, and travel (British motorway and roundabout vs. American freeway and traffic circle), but other domains - household items and package labels - are rich in contrasts too. A noteworthy source of distinctive American words (some very old) are those borrowed from the languages of Native American and Latino populations, including place names like Malibu (from Chumash) and El Paso (from Spanish) and foods like persimmon and tortilla. Going beyond the stereotypical “tomayto/tomahto” examples, the chapter surveys a number of recurrent pronunciation differences between American and British English, some involving consonants (pronouncing /t/in words like auto as a sound like [d] or as an aspirated [th]), some vowels (“mo-bal” vs. “mo-bile”), and some stress or accent (garáge vs. gárage). Among other things noted, regional pronunciation is less varied in the USA than in Britain; although Britain is geographically smaller, it has a longer and more complex settlement history.
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This article reports on a study that asks whether students were still engaged in developing their pronunciation three months after their course had finished. Students who attended a semester-long course which employed the Noticing-Reformulation technique (Smith & Beckmann, 2005) reported heightened awareness of pronunciation in their own and others' speech and felt that they were able to continue to develop their own pronunciation. Students mention specifically the value of hearing their own voice on tape, and of modelling other speakers. This article argues that increased awareness of phonological features, alongside production assistance, supports medium-term, autonomous phonological change.
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Mass media The way outgroup members are portrayed in the media is widely believed to have consequences for levels of prejudice and stereotyping in the mass public. The visual nature of television and its heavy viewership make it a key source of information for impressions that ingroup members may have of other social groups. However, most research to date has focused on documenting the portrayals of various groups in television content, with only a few studies documenting the causal impact of television viewing. To further understanding of this hypothesis, we outline the contributions and limitations of past work, and point to the most promising theoretical frameworks for studying media influence on outgroup attitudes. Stereotypes, Gordon Allport wrote, ‘are socially supported, continually revived and hammered in, by our media of mass communication–by novels, short stories, newspaper items, movies, stage, radio, and television’ (1954, p. 200). Yet, Allport provided no direct evidence ...
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Are pronunciations such as cawfee and chawklit bad English? Is slang improper? Is it incorrect to mix English and Spanish, as in Yo quiero Taco Bell? Can you write "Who do you trust?" rather than "Whom do you trust?" This book looks at traditional notions of bad language and argues that they are often based in sterile conventionality. Examining grammar and style, cursing, slang, political correctness, regional dialects, ethnic dialects, foreign accents, and language mixing, this book discusses the strong feelings evoked by language variation, from objections to pronunciation, to complaints about bilingual education. It explains the natural desire for uniformity in writing and speaking, and traces the association of mainstream norms to ideas about refinement, intelligence, education, character, national unity, and political values. The book argues that none of these qualities is inherently connected to language. It is tempting but wrong to think of slang, dialects, and nonstandard grammar as simply breaking the rules of good English. Instead, we should view language as made up of alternative forms of orderliness adopted by speakers depending on their purpose. Thus, we can study the structure and context of nonstandard language in order to illuminate and enrich traditional forms of language, and make policy decisions based on an informed engagement.
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Everybody fights about something or other and language is usually at the very center of the conflict. We use language as we fight our battles, but when the dispute is over what is said or how it was worded, language becomes the very cause of the battle. Although there are many arenas in which language disputes can be observed, civil law cases offer the most fertile examples of this warfare over words. What did the business contract actually say or mean? Was there evidence of deceptive language practice in its promotional materials? Can the warning label become part of a product liability charge? Did the company evidence age discrimination or race discrimination against its employees or customers? Was one company's trademark too similar to another's? Did the company engage in copyright infringement? Was it guilty of procurement fraud in its business proposal? This book is about the way linguistic analysis describes, exposes, and helps corporations analyze disputed meanings and practices in various types of civil cases where the central issues revolve around the way language was used in commerce. It also provides all of the language data that was practical to include so that others can do their own analyses.
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This study investigated bilinguals' ability to produce language-specific acoustic values for consonants and vowels that are highly similar across the two languages. To investigate this ability, we targeted early bilinguals who had acquired two languages before the age of 12 and continued to use both languages on a daily basis. These adult bilinguals were separated into two groups: simultaneous bilinguals (or nearly so) who acquired both languages by their third year, and sequential bilinguals who acquired their second language between the ages of 8 and 12 years. Their speech production was studied through an acoustic analysis of stop consonants (voice onset time) and vowels (formant structure). Despite the differences in age of acquisition, these bilinguals used both languages on a regular basis at work and at home and were very proficient in both languages. In contrast to other early bilinguals who undergo a change in language dominance from their first language to their second, the participants in this study maintained relatively balanced abilities in both languages. This study revealed that childhood bilinguals can maintain contrasts across their two languages, even for very similar phonemes.
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1. PreliminariesFor several decades the topic of age effects on ultimate attainment has been high on the agenda of many second language acquisition researchers. A first major evaluation of research in this area was published by Long (1990), who summarized the findings of studies conducted since Penfield and Roberts (1959) and Lenneberg (1967) developed their versions of a critical period hypothesis for language acquisition. Long (1990: 280) argued that the combined findings of the studies conducted to date warranted the conclusion that The ability to attain native-like phonological abilities in an SL begins to decline by age 6 in many individuals and to be beyond anyone beginning later than age 12, no matter how motivated they might be or how much opportunity they might have. Native-like morphology and syntax only seem to be possible for those beginning before age 15. In line with most proponents of a critical period for SLA, Long (1990: 280) posited that the decline in abilities is due to incremental (and presumably irreversible) losses of neural plasticity due to brain maturation.
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When people talk about the use of English as a language for cross-cultural communication, the one question which is asked most frequently is "How can we insure mutual intelligibility among speakers from different cultures?" This paper is a report of an empirical study on this question involving 1,386 people from eleven countries. There is no claim that the question has been fully answered, but hopefully the report does provide insights into the question and information towards the answer.
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Reported in this paper is a longitudinal study of the acquisition and use of the English sound system by Japanese learners of English. The central point is that the learner's second-language system must be a system of variable rules if it is to account for the variability (wide assortment of pronunciations) in his production, the fluctuations between his in-class and out-of-class performance, and the regularities in his process of acquisition. The model used in this research is the variability model of sociolinguistics. Discussed here are both the theoretical and practical values of this study. First, it captures the regular patterning of diversity in the learner's speech, giving the developing theory of interlanguage a firmer grounding. Second, the study provides insights to help the classroom teacher better understand and evaluate student performance in pronunciation.
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In this chapter, we propose that consideration of current theory regarding the nature of globalisation’s impact on the social and political world order is of particular relevance to empirical work in the Outer Circle and Expanding Circle. Locating English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) in the transformationalist perspective of globalisation, we argue that far from a trend towards increased homogenisation, a fundamental consequence of interconnectedness (a defining feature of late modernity) is the blurring of distinctions between internal and external affairs, between the international and domestic and thus between the local and global, and that this blurring leads, on the contrary, to an increased hybridist of cultures. The chapter proposes that the transformationalist perspective shares much with the way ELF research approaches the use of English in lingua franca settings, whether these settings occur in Inner, Outer or Expanding Circle contexts. We argue that ELF interactional settings are sites where distinctions are blurred, and where there is considerable linguacultural intermixture. By reporting on other corpora and drawing on one of our own (Dewey's) corpus of naturally occurring talk in lingua franca settings, we present empirical evidence which suggests that the use of English in ELF communication is a perfect example of the kind of transformation of cultural resources, here linguistic ones, that are currently occurring in a globalising world. In situating descriptions of ELF within a theoretical framework of globalisation, especially in light of the continuing growth in discourse about both ELF and World Englishes, we take account of the fuller context within which debate and analysis regarding the diffusion of English internationally are situated.
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The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of the ethnicity of speakers, as suggested in accents, on judgments of suitability for a job, and to establish the relationship between listeners' attitudes and the evaluation of accented speech. 203 subjects acted as personnel consultants and evaluated 10 job applicants for four jobs varying in social status. Five candidates spoke with an English-Canadian and five with a foreign accent. Data showed discrimination in favour of English-Canadian and against foreign-accented speakers, foreign-accented applicants were rated lower for the higher status jobs, but higher for lower status jobs. Measures of listeners' attitudes (authoritarianism and ethnocentrism) showed low but significant correlations with discrimination.
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This study explores the long-term effects of starting age and the effects of input in an instructed language learning setting. First, with respect to the effects of starting age, the findings suggest that in the long term and after similar amounts of input, starting age is not a predictor of language outcomes. Second, the study examines the effects of input using multiple measures derived from responses to an extended questionnaire. The analysis reveals modest but significant effects of input on participants' proficiency, confirming that input never ceases to play a role in an instructed language learning setting, in contrast with opposite claims from studies of naturalistic language learning.
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This article describes an approach for dealing with the pronunciation of advanced ESL learners who may be relatively fluent but who remain quite inaccurate. Their pronunciation is often thought of as being “fossilized” (Selinker 1972), highly resistant to change. The specific group for which this approach was designed is somewhat unique: foreign professionals, many of whom have been in English- speaking environments for years. Nonetheless, the general framework and the method involved are applicable in many contexts. For such fossilized learners, traditional pronunciation methods are often ineffective. A successful, somewhat unorthodox teaching program that draws on research from several disciplines is outlined.
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As the numbers of international teaching assistants (ITAs) continue to increase, cross-cultural communication has become an integral part of academic life in universities. ITA instruction programs recognize that successful communication between ITAs and their students requires an ability to use language appropriate to the classroom context and an awareness of the expectations of native-speaking discourse participants. One area of teaching discourse that is frequently overlooked in this discussion is its intonation structure. This study compares one intonational feature, tone choice, in 12 parallel teaching presentations given by 6 Chinese and 6 North American male teaching assistants (TAs). Naturally occurring presentations were recorded in the classroom, and tone choices were analyzed using instrumental and auditory analysis within Brazil's (1997) model of discourse intonation. The results showed that the native-English-speaking TAs systematically exploited their tone choices to increase the accessibility of the lecture material and establish rapport with their students. Conversely, the typical tonal composition of the ITAs' presentations obfuscated the information structure and frequently characterized these speakers as unsympathetic and uninvolved. These results suggest that tone choice contributes to communication failure between ITAs and their students and prompt the recommendation that tone choice be directly addressed in the linguistic and pedagogical components of ITA instruction programs.
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Sixty-six intermediate students studying Spanish at Indiana University were measured on 12 variables believed to be related to pronunciation accuracy. The students' pronunciation was rated by three judges. Variables that related most to pronunciation accuracy were: (a) attitude or individual concern for pronunciation; (b) subject's degree of field independence (FI) as measured by the Group Embedded Figures Test (GEFT) (Witkin et al., 1971); and (c) subject's degree of right hemispheric specialization (RT) in relation to accurate pronunciation on a free-speech exercise. Variables that proved to have little or no relationship to pronunciation were: (a) left/integrated hemispheric specialization, (b) gender, (c) foreign travel, (d) other languages learned/spoken, (e) overall Grade Point Average (GPA), (f) GPA in Spanish, and (g) having Spanish-speaking relatives. The relationship between pronunciation accuracy and subjects' total number of years of formal instruction in Spanish approached significance; however, this relationship was lost in a multiple regression analysis when factors such as attitude and FI were taken into consideration. The results suggest that although FI and RT hemispheric specialization relate to accurate target language pronunciation in certain tasks, attitude or concern for pronunciation accuracy proved to be the most significant factor. Finally, a classroom model of pronunciation instruction is posited, as well as implications for future research.
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This study investigated syllable duration as a measure of speech rhythm in the English spoken by Hong Kong Cantonese speakers. A computer dataset of Hong Kong English speech data amounting to 4,404 syllables was used. Measurements of syllable duration were taken, investigated statistically, and then compared with measurements of 1,847 syllables from an existing corpus of British English speakers. It was found that, although some similarities existed, the Hong Kong English speakers showed smaller differences in the relative syllable duration of tonic, stressed, unstressed, and weakened syllables than the British English speakers. This result is discussed with regard to potential intelligibility problems, features of possible language transfer from Cantonese to English with respect to speech rhythm, and implications for language teaching professionals.
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In this study we identify some of the phonetic parameters that correlate with nonnative speakers' (NNSs) perceptual judgments of accent in English and investigate NNS listener perceptions of English from a World Englishes point of view. Our main experiment involved 3,200 assessments of the perceived degree of accent in English of two speaker groups: 11 Japanese and 5 Americans. Two additional and separate phonetically untrained listener groups, one composed of 10 Japanese and the other of 5 Americans, did the perceptual assessments. A follow-up auditory analysis by two phonetically trained listeners and an acoustic analysis showed that the untrained Japanese listeners used primarily nonsegmental parameters (intonation, fluency, and speech rate) to make perceptual judgments, whereas segmental parameters had a relatively minor role. Untrained American listeners exhibited the opposite pattern: Segmentals (especially /r/ and /l/) figured prominently, and nonsegmentals played a relatively minor role. Our study shows how native-speaking (NS) and NNS listeners perceive degree of accent in English in fundamentally different ways, each based on different phonetic parameters. We consider the implications that our findings might have for a recently proposed phonological syllabus for English as an international language (EIL) designed with NNS-NNS interactions in mind.