woensdag 17 november 2010

Lezing ‘How to sound intelligent?'

Door: Laura Rupp
Beste collega's en studenten,
Ik wil jullie graag uitnodigen voor een lezing over 'Attitudes and identity in non-native speaker accents of English’, door Bettina Beinhoff (Research Centre for English and Applied Linguistics (RCEAL), University of Cambridge).
woensdag 8 December van 12.30-13.30 uur in 8A-05.
Het gebeurt niet elke dag dat we een gastspreker hebben uit het buitenland en het is altijd een bijzondere ervaring. Deze lezing heeft ook een heel toegankelijk en actueel onderwerp. Kom luisteren en neem je lunch mee. Klik ''meer lezen'' voor het abstract van de lezing.

‘How to sound intelligent? Attitudes and identity in non-native speaker accents of English’
Bettina Beinhoff, University of Cambridge - Research Centre for English and Applied Linguistics (RCEAL)
Whenever we hear a person speak with a particular accent we make assumptions on her/his regional and social background. This happens because language in general and accents in particular are considered to be reliable markers of group-membership and thus, of a person’s social identity.
This relation between accents and perceived group-membership is somewhat problematic for non-native speakers (NNS) of a language because NNS accents are influenced by a variety of factors – many of which do not affect native speakers (NS). Still, NNS speech seems to be constantly judged by NS norms and standards. This is especially apparent in the case of English.
English is the global lingua franca and as such it is increasingly used for communication among NNS of English which outnumber NS of English by far. In this lingua franca context NNS of English need to establish their identity through the medium of their second language. Additionally, most NNS speak English with a ‘foreign’ accent which causes certain attitudes in speakers as well as listeners and can have profound social consequences.
I will present a study which looks at NNS attitudes towards ingroup and outgroup accents of English, with particular interest in the solidarity dimension (i.e. how much a person identifies with an accent) and status dimension (i.e. how much prestige is assigned to an accent). A further aim is to find out whether variation in specific sounds – especially consonants – directly influences the perception of NNS accents of English and makes them sound more ‘friendly’ or ‘intelligent’. The results reveal direct connections between certain attitudes and specific phonetic detail and thus, help to understand the impact of the phonetics/phonology and sociolinguistics interface in non-native speech.

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