American or British? L2 speakers’ recognition and evaluations of accent features in English

Carrie, Erin and McKenzie, Robert M. (2017) American or British? L2 speakers’ recognition and evaluations of accent features in English. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development. ISSN 0143-4632

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Official URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/014346...

Abstract

Recent language attitude research has attended to the processes involved in identifying and evaluating spoken language varieties. This article investigates the ability of second-language learners of English in Spain (N = 71) to identify Received Pronunciation (RP) and General American (GenAm) speech and their perceptions of linguistic variation between these speech varieties. Data were gathered using a verbal-guise experiment in which respondents identified speakers’ places of origin and stated the reasons for their categorisations. Quantitative data analysis demonstrated high recognition rates for RP speakers, more often correctly identified than GenAm speakers. Qualitative data analysis showed that respondents’ knowledge of phonological variation informed the identification process and they often stated which linguistic features formed part of their mental representations of RP and GenAm. Additional resources informed accent recognition, including perceived linguistic quality, intelligibility, familiarity, and cultural associations. Patterns of misidentification revealed that, when GenAm was inaccurately identified as RP, it was ascribed high status. The findings provide an insight into the strategies, conceptual frameworks, and linguistic features which inform the accent identification process as performed by English-language learners in Spain. The results also highlight the usefulness of variety recognition items in interpreting attitudinal evaluations, especially with regard to patterns of misidentification.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Identification; perceptions; attitudes; verbal-guise; Received Pronunciation; General American
Subjects: C800 Psychology
Q100 Linguistics
Q300 English studies
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Humanities
Depositing User: Robert M. McKenzie
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2017 09:28
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2017 09:35
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/32620

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