A Multi-perspective Investigation of Attitudes Towards English Accents in Hong Kong: Implications for Pronunciation Teaching

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Abstract

The study reported in this article examined Hong Kong students' attitudes towards English accents from three interrelated perspectives: (1) their awareness of accents, (2) their perception of accents in relation to the dimensions of status and solidarity, and (3) their choice of accents in various local language-using contexts. By means of the verbal-guise technique, it explored the issue from multiple perspectives by comparing the attitudes among English learners at differing stages of study (i.e., junior secondary, senior secondary, and university students). These participants had different perceptions of English based on their prior knowledge, learning experience, and exposure to English. The findings indicate that the university students perceived the local accent more negatively than their secondary counterparts in the dimensions of both status and solidarity, despite their greater awareness of accents. Nevertheless, all the participants showed fewer reservations about the use of second language English accents in more casual and interactive English-speaking situations. The article concludes by discussing the potential for the design of language awareness tasks in TESOL materials and assessments for secondary school as a crucial step to initiate attitudinal changes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-313
JournalTesol Quarterly
Volume50
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016

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