The Hong Kong English accent : judgements by listeners in Britain

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Journal article

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Concordia working Papers in Applied Linguistics

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Studies of attitudes towards the Hong Kong English accent conclude that Hong Kong has a strongly exonormative orientation with little sign of endonormative stabilization. Hong Kong teachers of English still have a strong orientation towards (British or American) native-like accents in terms of acceptability and intelligibility.

Sewell’s (2012) accent survey involving Hong Kong speakers and listeners using both questionnaire and error/variant-identification tasks concluded that the phonological features of accents are important determinants of listener responses, suggesting that local accents may be acceptable if they do not contain certain salient features of the Hong Kong English phonological inventory. In addition, an apparent correspondence between the acceptability and intelligibility characteristics of features was noted.

This paper presents a partial replication of Sewell’s research using British listeners, indicating that, while there is not a great deal of diversity of opinion in terms of acceptability of accents, different issues affect listeners’ ratings of intelligibility

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2014 © 2014 COPAL

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Setter, S., Sewell, A. and Ryder, C. (2014) The Hong Kong English accent : judgements by listeners in Britain. Concordia Working Papers in Applied Linguistics, 5, 650-666.