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The Evaluation of Eastern European accents of English in the Netherlands

By G. Żelazna


There has been an ample amount of studies conducted on attitudes towards different varieties of English by native speakers of the English language. However, little has been done on how different foreign accents are perceived by non-native speakers of English. The main aim of this study was to investigate whether the Western European accented speech is perceived better than the Eastern European one by non-native English speakers in a non-English-speaking country. The research was conducted using the matched-guise technique (Lambert, 1967) in the Netherlands. 94 subjects participated in the study. All were asked to fill in a survey constructed in accordance with a Likert Scale. The findings revealed that although it could not be generalised that the Eastern European accents are perceived less positive than the Western European ones, it could be generalised that speaking without a foreign accent at all is perceived more favourably in terms of intelligence, education, and social class. Moreover, speaking with a Standard American or British accent increases your chances on the job market. Whereas that could be justified in the native English-speaking environment, it is interesting to acknowledge that much the same attitudes hold in non-English-speaking European countries.

Year: 2013
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