Acquisition of a Foreign Accent by Native Speakers of English Living in the Czech Republic

  • Magda Sučková Masaryk University; Brno University of Technology
Keywords: first language attrition, expatriates, native speakers of English, accent, intelligibility

Abstract

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.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

References

Bergmann, Christopher, Amber Nota, Simone A. Sprenger, and Monika S. Schmid. 2016. “L2 Immersion Causes Non-Native-Like L1 Pronunciation in German Attriters.” Journal of Phonetics 58: 71–86. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wocn.2016.07.001.

Chaplin, Charlie, dir. 1936. Modern times. Leipzig: Kinowelt Home Entertainment, 2010. DVD.

Flege, James Emil. 1987. “The Production of “New” and “Similar” Phones in a Foreign Language: Evidence for the Effect of Equivalence Classification.” Journal of Phonetics 15 (1): 47–65. http://www.jimflege.com/files/Flege_new_similar_JP_1987.pdf.

—. 2002. “Interactions Between Native and Second-Language Phonetic Systems.” In An Integrated View of Language Development: Papers in Honor of Henning Wode, edited by Petra Burmeister, Thorsten Piske, and Andreas Rohde, 217–44. Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier.

Hopp, Holger, and Monika S. Schmid. 2013. “Perceived Foreign Accent in First Language Attrition and Second Language Acquisition: The Impact of Age of Acquisition and Bilingualism.” Applied Psycholinguistics 34 (2): 361–94. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0142716411000737.

Kachru, Braj B. 1990. “World Englishes and Applied Linguistics.” World Englishes 9 (1): 3–20. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-971X.1990.tb00683.x.

Kupske, Felipe Flores, and Ubiratã Kickhöfel Alves. 2016. “A fala de imigrantes brasileiros de primeira geração em Londres como evidência empírica para a língua como um Sistema Adaptativo Complexo.” Revista Virtual de Estudos da Linguagem-ReVEL 14 (27): 173–203. http://www.revel.inf.br/files/e166bf461eec067bb8459c6617d5fd52.pdf.

Major, Roy C. 1992. “Losing English as a First Language.” The Modern Language Journal 76 (2): 190–208. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/329772.

Major, Roy C., and Barbara O. Baptista. 2009. “First Language Attrition in Foreign Accent Detection.” In Recent Research in Second Language Phonetics/Phonology: Perception and Production, edited by Michael A. Watkins, Andreia S. Rauber, and Barbara O. Babtista, 256–69. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Martin, Rod A. 2007. The Psychology of Humour: An Integrative Approach. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

de Leeuw, Esther. 2008. “When Your Native Language Sounds Foreign: A Phonetic Investigation into First Language Attrition.” PhD diss., Queen Margaret University Edinburgh.

Platt, John, and Heidi Weber. 1984. “Speech Convergence Miscarried: An Investigation into Inappropriate Accommodation Strategies.” International Journal of the Sociology of Language 1984 (46): 131–46. https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl.1984.46.131.

Riney, Timothy J., Mari Takada, and Mitsuhiko Ota. 2000. “Segmentals and Global Foreign Accent: The Japanese Flap in EFL.” Tesol Quarterly 34 (4): 711–37. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.2307/3587782.

Sancier, Michele. L., and Carol A. Fowler. 1997. “Gestural Drift in a Bilingual Speaker of Brazilian Portuguese and English.” Journal of Phonetics 25 (4): 421–36. https://doi.org/10.1006/jpho.1997.0051.

Schmid, Monika S. 2004. “Language Attrition Research: An Annotated Bibliography.” In First Language Attrition: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Methodological Issues, edited by Monika S. Schmid, Barbara Köpke, Merel Keijzer, and Lina Weilemar, 317–48. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing.

—. 2011. Language Attrition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

—. 2016. “First Language Attrition.” Language Teaching 49 (2): 186–212. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0261444815000476.

Schmid, Monika S., and Holger Hopp. 2014. “Comparing Foreign Accent in L1 Attrition and L2 Acquisition: Range and Rater Effects.” Language Testing 31 (3): 367–88.

Sharpe, Bruce, Malcom Sharpe, Norman Lorrain, Russell Heistuman, and Doug Kaye. n.d. The Levelator® 2, Vers. 2.1.1. The Conversation Network and Singular Software. http://www.conversationsnetwork.org/levelator.

Sučková, Magda. 2012. “Phonetic Changes in the Speech of Anglophone Expatriates.” Master’s thesis, Masaryk University.

Published
2020-06-02
How to Cite
SučkováM. (2020). Acquisition of a Foreign Accent by Native Speakers of English Living in the Czech Republic. ELOPE: English Language Overseas Perspectives and Enquiries, 17(2), 83-100. https://doi.org/10.4312/elope.17.2.83-100