L2 English Speakers’ Perception of Their English Accent: An Investigation of European and Asian Attitudes

  •  Miki Shibata    


According to previous studies, Japanese learners of English (JLEs) have a negative perception of their own variety of English along with a strong desire to sound native-like. Language attitudes toward L2 (second language) English accents may affect their active participation in English communication situations. The present study is cross-national and investigates whether other L2 English learners from different L1 (first language) backgrounds negatively perceive their own variety of English and English pronunciation as JLEs do. A total of 290 college students in Austria, Germany, Denmark, Malaysia, China, Japan, and Kazakhstan evaluated their own accent by responding to 10 statements on a 6-point scale. By comparing the responses as percentages and the binomial test, the analysis revealed that the Japanese perceived their accent most negatively, followed by the Chinese, whereas the Europeans, Malaysians, and Kazakhs perceived their accents positively to varying degrees. Among the seven countries, the L1 Danish group perceived their own variety as native-like most and non-native accent least, where the JLEs showed the opposite results. On the other hand, the endorsement for native accent was recognized across the countries. Based on the results, I claim that individual socio-contextual settings could have a critical impact on developing distinct attitudes toward one’s own accent among EFL speakers. 

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