Accents

Report
The Hong Kong Institute of
Education
Faculty of Humanities
Public Lecture Series 2014
Accents in English
Saturday March 8
1
Public Lecture Series 2014
Spelling: March 1
Accents: March 8
Pronunciation: March 15
Vocabulary: March 22
Literature: March 29
Language learning and technology: April 12
2
Accents
Dr. John Trent
Associate Professor
Department of English Language Education
The Hong Kong Institute of Education
[email protected]
Office: B4-2/F-04
Telephone: 2948 7375
3
Accents
How good are you are “picking” accents???
http://accent.gmu.edu/searchsaa.php?function
=detail&speakerid=921
http://accent.gmu.edu/searchsaa.php?function
=detail&speakerid=130
http://accent.gmu.edu/searchsaa.php?function
=detail&speakerid=533
4
Accents
How good are you are “picking” accents???
http://accent.gmu.edu/searchsaa.php?function
=detail&speakerid=1387
http://accent.gmu.edu/searchsaa.php?function
=detail&speakerid=981
5
Accents
How good are you are “picking” accents???
http://accent.gmu.edu/searchsaa.php?function
=detail&speakerid=754
http://accent.gmu.edu/searchsaa.php?function
=detail&speakerid=1373
http://accent.gmu.edu/searchsaa.php?function
=detail&speakerid=611
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Accents
How good are you are “picking” accents???
Georgia (USA)
New York
Australia
New Zealand
London
Manchester
Edinburgh
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Accents
Do accents matter?
Apparently, they do….
You can “master” accents
https://library.ied.edu.hk/search~S5?/cPE2815+.
M58+2009/cpe+2815+m58+2009/-3%2C1%2C0%2CE/frameset&FF=cpe+2815+m58+20
09&1%2C1%2C
“Provides tools to change your accent quickly…”
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Accents
You can undergo “accent training”:
https://library.ied.edu.hk/search~S5?/cPE2811+.
C66+2009/cpe+2811+c66+2009/-3%2C1%2C0%2CE/frameset&FF=cpe+2811+c66+20
09&1%2C1%2C
9
Accents
You can “lose your accent”:
https://library.ied.edu.hk/search~S5?/cPE1139+.
L67+2002/cpe+1139+l67+2002/-3%2C1%2C0%2CE/frameset&FF=cpe+1139+l67+200
2&1%2C1%2C
10
Accents
…or at least reduce your accent:
https://library.ied.edu.hk/search~S5?/cPE1137+.
A23+2001/cpe+1137+a23+2001/-3%2C1%2C0%2CE/frameset&FF=cpe+1137+a23+20
01&1%2C1%2C
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Accents
Some terminology
Accents…standard English… varieties of
English…
What is an accent????
A dictionary definition:
“A distinctive manner of expression…a way of
speaking typical of a particular group of
people and especially of the natives or
residents of a region”.
12
Accents
A simpler definition…
“the way in which people in a particular area or
country pronounce words”.
Or…
“the pronunciation features of any spoken
variety, including pitch, duration and
loudness”.
13
Accents
Studies often distinguish between “standard”
and “non-Standard” speakers of English.
These terms are:
• NOT unproblematic
• Can be confusing
• Are ever evolving…..
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Accents
Nevertheless, a standard variety might be
thought of as…
“the one that is most often associated with high
socioeconomic status, power, and media
usage in a particular community” (Giles &
Billings, 2004).
Received Pronunciation (RP) [think Queen
Elizabeth] might be taken to identity standard
British English.
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Accents
What is a variety?
Different types of English that have their own
internally consistent grammar, vocabulary
and pronunciation.
So if someone speaks “Hong Kong English”,
there may be aspects of vocabulary, grammar
and pronunciation that reflect features of
Cantonese.
In sum, the idea that there is one ‘universal’
English is difficult to sustain.
There are Englishes….(plural)
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Accents
What is a variety?
Varieties could represent subtypes of a language.
We might conclude that American, British, Australian,
New Zealand English are varieties of English.
Implications:
What might be seen as “deficient” forms of English
might in fact reflect the way English is developing in
different ways across different regions as it comes
into contact with unique social environments and
particular languages in different locations across
the world.
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Accents
What is a variety?
Singlish….
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjoAiAV50d
s
Some definitions to help:
http://www.aussiepete.com/2008/05/singlishlanguage-guide-for-foreigners.html
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Accents
Why might accents matter?
Accents do influence listeners’ perceptions about
the speaker:
• Fishman (1977)
• Giles & Sassoon (1983)
• Giles, Williams, Mackie, & Rosselli (1995)
• McKirnan & Hamayan (1984)
• Oller, Baca, & vigil (1978).
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Accents
• It appears that listeners construct speakers
social and psychological traits…
• based on linguistic features of speech such as
accents and the rate of speech delivery.
20
Accents
Such traits include…
social status: intelligent and wealthy and
social attractiveness: pleasant, confident,
modest, gentle, reliable, and sociable….
Could be based on listeners’ dispositions
towards certain groups of people…
…their attitudes to different accents.
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Accents
Studies have examined students’ attitudes
towards nonnative accents of foreign born
teachers, especially in the US….
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Accents
Teachers with foreign accents are perceived by
parents and students to be….
Less intelligent compared with teachers without
foreign accents….
• Nelson (1991)
• Solomon (1991).
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Accents
Rubin (1992):
• Videotaped two sets of lectures.
• One was delivered by an Asian lecturer.
• The other by a Caucasian lecturer.
• Using voiceover, the lectures were in fact delivered
by a native English speaker.
• So, participants had two different visual stimuli (two
instructors from different racial backgrounds)
• And one audio stimulus (recorded by the same
person).
Any predictions on what Rubin found about attitudes to the
two lecturers????
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Accents
Rubin found that:
• Although the instructors spoke the same
English, undergraduates perceived the
lecturers’ accents differently.
• This perception influenced their perceptions
about the extent to which they understood
the lectures.
25
Accents
Edwards (1982):
• Students evaluations of teachers’ teaching
performance are influenced by their accents.
• Ss displayed a preference for “standard”
varieties.
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Accents
Researchers have also investigated the
relationship between teachers’ accents and
NNES students’ evaluation of such accents.
27
Accents
Chiba, Matsuura, & Yamamoto (1995):
• Japanese university students were asked to
listen to six speech samples.
• The samples were produced by speakers with
a variety of accents..
• Japanese, HK, Sri Lankan, Malaysian, British,
American English accents….
• Students showed a more positive attitude
towards….
28
Accents
• American and British-accented English.
• Followed by Japanese-accented English.
Dalton-Puffer, Kaltenboeck, and Smit (1997):
• Austrian college students were found to have
negative attitudes toward Austrian-accented
English.
• They perceived it to be a foreign accent.
• They showed a preference for so-called native
accents, especially British English, which they
were most familiar with…
29
Accents
Forde (1995):
HK students’ attitudes towards variations of
English.
British and American English were evaluated
favorably compared with HK English.
30
Accents
Attitudes of Chinese Students
Zhang and Hu (2008):
Studied the attitudes of advanced Chinese
English language learners towards three
varieties of native English in the US.
American, British and Australian speakers.
What do you think the results might have been?
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Accents
• More positive attitudes were recorded
towards American and British English than
Australian.
• American and British English were considered
suitable models for instruction.
• No significant difference was found between
American and British English.
32
Accents
The Power of Standard Accents
Until recently, RP-like varieties have attracted the most
favourable evaluations in the English speaking world,
not only in the Britain but also in Australia, NZ and
the US.
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Accents
The Power of Standard Accents
Bayard (2001):
• Research into attitudes towards Australia, NZ and US
varieties in each of the three countries.
• The most highly regarded voice was an American
female, followed by an American male.
• Even Australian students ranked Australian-English
below American-English.
• All groups disliked the NZ male!!
34
Accents
The Power of Standard Accents
Recall:
In Northern Ireland, students recalled more when it
was presented in RP (Cairns & Duiez, 1976).
Cooperation:
In the UK, housewives wrote and provided more
information on a three-item, open-ended
questionnaire when it was delivered by an RP
speaker.
35
Accents
What are your attitudes to accents?
An informal survey of us…
Sewell, H. (2005) Teaching Implications of
Students’ Attitudes to Differing English
Accents
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Accents
Sewell (2005)
• A questionnaire was given to 62 Korean first
year college students
• Majoring in tourism
• Most participants could be categorized as low
to mid beginning level English language
learners.
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Accents
First question to consider in groups…
Are there any common patterns in terms of the
countries or the regions that people in your
group show a strong desire to understand?
That is, are one or two countries / regions more
“popular” than others?
38
Accents
Second question:
Are there any common reasons why people in
your group think it is important to understand
English spoken with those accents?
What are they?
If there are no common reasons, just highlight 23 different reasons.
39
Accents
Question 3:
Are there any common patterns in your group
explaining why people think it is not
important to understand English spoken with
certain accents?
What are they?
If there are no common reasons, just highlight 23 different reasons.
40
Accents
Some results from the Korean study
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Accents
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Accents
Teaching implications from the Korean study
Is the situation different in HK?
Strong preference for North American accent.
Resistance to teachers with accents from other regions.
This was thought to reflect familiarity with the North
American accent.
Ss are already struggling with English and want to avoid
the problem of dealing with different accents.
50
Accents
Implications
Teacher recruitment
Schools prefer to hire teachers from the US or
Canada (in HK???).
Choice of listening materials
Preference for listening materials spoken with
an American accent. (Any comments from HK
teachers?)
51
Accents
The need to understand accented English
Some Korean students are locked into a cycle:
• They find non-American accents difficult to
understand.
• Therefore, they avoid accents other than
North American.
• As a result, they do not develop the skills to
cope with a wide range of different accents.
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Accents
As many English accents exist, it seems
reasonable to develop in students the ability
to understand a variety of accents.
• Emphasize the relevance and benefits of
understanding a wide variety of accents in
their future careers and lifestyles (travel, living
/ studying overseas, for example).
• At university, offer specialized listening
courses to expose students to accented
English.
53
Accents
Thank You
Q and A????
From next Monday, the slides from this session
will be available at the website:
http://www.ied.edu.hk/ele/pls/
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