Do you Like My English? Thai Students' Attitudes towards Five Different Asian Accents

Rusma Kalra, Chayada Thanavisuth
2018 Arab World English Journal  
This research aims to explore how Thai speakers of English perceive their Asian peers' accented English and evaluate the acceptability of their accents namely Burmese English, Chinese English, Indian English, Japanese English, and Vietnamese English. The participants were eighty undergraduate students at an International University in Thailand where English is used as a medium of instruction. They were asked to listen to five recorded speech extracts taken from five different intermediate-level
more » ... intermediate-level reading passages. A triangulated study is used to examine the data from different angle including a questionnaire survey in a Likert-type scale and a follow-up semistructured interview. The Index of Item Objective Congruence (IOC) and Cronbach's Alpha Coefficient were also applied to assure the content validity of the research methodology. The results in this study indicated that Thai student participants were easily able to identify that five speakers were all non-native speakers of English. The majority preferred Indian accented English to other accented Englishes. Most participants showed negative attitudes towards Japanese and Burmese accented English. It is somewhat conclusive that the participants still believe that a native-like accent is overvalued their perceived English accents. 285 Japanese English Ellis (1994) stated, the majority of English learners in the Expanding Circle do not reach nativelike proficiency, probably due to limited exposure to English and the learners' lack of strong motivation to master the language. As for Japan, Stanlaw (1992) reported the surprisingly low fluency of English among Japanese people, who usually learn the language in school for six to ten years. The exact word "Japanese English" is used very derogatorily in Japan, mainly referring to the distinctive pronunciation traits that L1 Japanese transfer to L2 English. When the assumption that any deviations from the native model are shameful is removed, however, the very distinctive features that are commonly observed in English spoken by Japanese native speakers entitle their language variety "Japanese English." Baxter (1980) stresses the importance of recognizing the fact that, for the majority of Japanese, English is not a foreign language but a language for international communication with both native and nonnative speakers. Like Suzuki (1971) and Smith (1976) , Baxter (1980) also declares that Japanese need not speak like Americans, while they might want to conform to native English varieties in vocabulary and grammar. Consonants. Standard Tokyo Japanese includes the following consonants: /p, t, k, b, d, g, ts, S, z, m n, r, h, y, w /. The Japanese "r" is often a flapped sound, eI, similar to the "t" in American English "city." The forms/p, t, k/ are usually, but not always, described as unaspirated. Certain consonants (e.g. Is/) have allophones (e.g., U]) occurring before high vowels. A mora nasal conventionally represented as INI becomes 1m! before Ip, b, ml, In! before It, d, nI, and II]/before /k, g, 1]/. Japanese also has a mora obstruent represented as /9/, which is always realized as the same obstruent that follows it, creating a geminate (or "double") consonant. Only /IJ/ and 101 can close syllables. American English has the following 25 consonants: Ip, b, t, d, k, g, f, v, 0, 6, s, z, 1, 3, t1, d3, m, n, Ij, 1, r, j, W, Iil, hi. The forms /p, t, k/have aspirated allophones at the beginning of words and at the beginning of all stressed syllables. (Vance, 1987) Burmese English Kirkpatrick (2010) asserted that the linguistic context and the role of English in Burma as a British colony were changed its institutional role of English due to the power of the military dictator.Win (2003) identified the phonological traits of Burmese English spoken by Burmese English speakers including the use of non-prevocalic /r/, unaspirated voiceless stop in the syllable-initial position, glottal stop in the syllable-final position, and consonant cluster omission. The context of this study Regarding the context of this study, data for this study come from two groups of participants. They all were students studying in an International University in Thailand in a course name Introduction to Linguistics at the time this study was being conducted. This course is a major requirement subject for students in language major. It aims to provide basic knowledge about the study of language in a systematic way. English is used as a medium of the instruction. Students also have to use English in the classroom and communicate with foreign friends. They have a chance to expose to different accents. The first group consisted of five speaker participants (2 male and 3 female speakers). Their recorded speech extracts were used in this study spoken, namely Vietnamese English, Japanese English, Indian English, Chinese English, and Burmese English. 291 Conclusion Summing up the findings of this paper, it seems safe to conclude that varieties of English are still not adequately represented in current ELT among Thai learners and speakers of English. It must be pointed out to learners of English that the English language is not monolithic but a constantly evolving dynamic system with a pluricentric structure. Teachers, textbook authors, curriculum designers, foreign language education researchers, applied linguists, sociolinguists and other ELT-related experts should make good use of the growing body of systematic linguistic descriptions of varieties of English. One advantage of monitoring linguistic variability is that students can have a righteous position without stressing over whether their English is non-standard, halfway in view of their limited command of language, and incompletely in light of the fact that they would feel greater when occupied with normally happening importance doing exercises. While a familiarity with fluctuation in English reinforces one's certainty and feeling of language character, phonetic preference will undoubtedly emerge, and is something to avoid through awareness-raising. About the Authors Dr. Rusma Kalra, is a full-time lecturer under the Department of Business English, Faculty of Arts, Assumption University, Thailand. With over 9 years of teaching experience at tertiary level, she has covered a wide range of areas in her teaching including English for specific purposes and business communication writing. Her research include classroom based research and English for specific purposes. Dr. Chayada Thanavisuth, is a full-time lecturer in the Department of Business English, Theodore Maria School of Arts, Assumption University, Thailand. She has diversified experience with over 20 years of teaching linguistics and sociolinguistics at tertiary level. Her main research interest is in English as a foreign language, internet linguistics, psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, and world Englishes.
doi:10.24093/awej/vol9no4.21 fatcat:2fupx7e7wfad5g3kulypln6guy