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Effects of degree of accentedness in lecturers’ Dutch-English pronunciation on Dutch students’ attitudes and perceptions of comprehensibility

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Few studies on evaluations of non-native English (NNE) accents by non-native listeners have taken into account degrees of accentedness. This study investigated the perception of moderately and slightly accented English by NNE in an educational context. Eight male speakers recorded two fragments of a lecture in English or Dutch. Experts determined the degree of accentedness of the speakers (moderate, slight, native). In an online questionnaire, 163 Dutch students evaluated the fragments. The moderately accented instructors were evaluated as less comprehensible than slightly accented and native instructors. The Dutch and English fragments were considered equally comprehensible. The moderately accented instructors were regarded less positively than the slightly accented and native English instructors. Slightly accented instructors were evaluated as more likeable than the native English instructors and the instructors in the native Dutch fragments. In conclusion, degrees of accentedness in English influence NNE listeners’ attitudinal evaluations.
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Keywords: English; English-medium instruction; accent strength; accentedness; attitudes; comprehensibility; verbal guise

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2016

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