Acquisition of a Foreign Accent by Native Speakers of English Living in the Czech Republic
Keywords:first language attrition, expatriates, native speakers of English, accent, intelligibility
First language attrition has been shown to affect many areas of linguistic performance in immigrants to other countries. In phonetics, there is often a shift towards the majority language phonetic features, and, in some cases, the speakers may cease to be perceived as native altogether. This article presents the results of a foreign accent rating study, showing that even Anglophone expatriates are not immune to L1 attrition despite the (relative) lack of pressure to linguistically assimilate due to the status of their mother tongue as a prestigious and desirable-to-master language. The quantitative results are augmented by personal narratives of the expatriate informants, showing that what is often dismissed as mere anecdotal evidence may in fact bear a strong correspondence to the quantitative data.
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