Teachers' Attitudes towards Asian Students' English Accented Speech

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2016-06
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eng
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9 pages
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ICLLS 2016 Second International Conference on Linguistics and Language Studies 23–24 June 2016 Hong Kong, 245-253
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Abstract
While previous research studies examining the students’ attitudes towards certain English varieties/accents are great in number, none of these studies was focused on how teachers perceived students’ foreign accented speech. Thus, the present study aimed to investigate how native and non-native English speaking teachers comprehended students’ accented speeches. Twelve teacher participants and three Asian students at an international university in Thailand participated in the study. The recorded speeches of three Asian students whose first languages were Chinese (Mandarin), Korean, and Thai were used as stimuli. The teacher participants consisted of four native English speakers (three Americans and one Australian), four native Thai speakers, two native speakers of Burmese and two Indians. All teachers were asked to listen to the stimuli and later to provide answers in the questionnaires. Informal interviews were also given to some teacher participants to get clarification of their answers. The results of study demonstrated the teacher participants had different perceptions of the three foreign English accents. The teachers’ familiarity with a certain accent played an important role in their accent evaluation and recognition. The most familiar accent, Thai English, gained the highest level of positive evaluation and was considered the easiest one to understand. Although the three students’ English accented speeches carried some phonological features that were deviated from those of the so-called native English accents, these features did not prevent the teachers from understanding the students’ statements. The implications of these findings for teaching English pronunciation and communication were also discussed.
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