Masaryk University Faculty of Arts



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Summary


The present thesis explores the use of the English language as a lingua franca among speakers of different native languages and its implications on the character of the language, its speakers, and the learners. An alternative approach towards a less native-speaker oriented norms for language instruction is proposed. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the proposed orientation towards a more global representation of the language would meet the English language learners’ objectives in the Czech Republic regarding their accent. The research investigated the EFL learners’ attitudes towards ten varieties of English accent, towards non-native accents in general, and their views of standard pronunciation models.

The implementation of ELF orientation in ELT in the Czech Republic is connected to three areas. Both English learners and users are not aware of the diverse character of the language with many varieties. They are also not aware of the implications this has on ELT, most of them are influenced by the standard language ideology connected to the stress of native-accent acquisition. Negative prejudices towards foreign accents are common, especially relating to the lack of professionality and trustworthiness of the speakers.

The research findings have shown a correlation between the non-native accent familiarity and its tolerance. While many learners believe a non-native accent is undeniably connected to lack of comprehensibility, research has shown that many other linguistic and non-linguistic factors are involved in the listeners’ perceptions and it is strongly connected to their judgements. The proposed methods of intervention include exposure to non-native varieties in the classroom, raising the learners’ multicultural awareness and the awareness of the complexity of the English language and a focus on a more realistic international intelligibility with features of foreign accent.

Resumé


Předložená práce zkoumá užívání anglického jazyka v roli lingua franca mezi mluvčími různých mateřských jazyků a jejího vlivu na charakter jazyka, jeho mluvčí a studenty. Pro výuku angličtiny práce navrhuje alternativní přístup, který není orientovaný na normy rodilých mluvčích. Účelem této studie bylo zjistit, zda by navrhovaný způsob pojetí angličtiny jako globálního jazyka uspokojil nároky studentů v České republice v ohledu přízvuku. Předmětem výzkumu bylo zjistit postoje studentů anglického jazyka vůči  anglickým přízvukům deseti mluvčích, dále vůči přízvukům nerodilých mluvčích obecně a jejich názory na standardní výslovnostní modely.

Zavedení konceptu anglického jazyka v roli lingua franca do jazykové výuky v České republice je spojen se třemi oblastmi. Studenti angličtiny nejsou seznámeni s rozmanitou povahou anglického jazyka a jejích mnoha podob. Také si nejsou vědomi, jaké důsledky má tento jev na jazykovou výuku a většina z nich je přesvědčena že rodilí mluvčí poskytují ideální vzor pro akvizici anglického přízvuku. Negativní předsudky vůči přízvukům cizinců jsou časté, jsou zejména spojovány s nedostatečnou profesionalitou a důvěryhodností daných mluvčích.

Výsledky výzkumu ukázaly, že pokud byl daný přízvuk nerodilého mluvčího posluchači povědomý, ovlivnilo to jeho toleranci vůči danému přízvuku. I když mnoho studentů věří, že přízvuky nerodilých mluvčích jsou nesporně spojeny se špatnou srozumitelností, výzkum ukázal, že vliv dalších faktorů ne přímo spojených s jazykem často hraje významnou úlohu v míře porozumění, které je pevně spjato s jejich úsudky o daných mluvčích. Jako možný způsob intervence je navrženo seznamování s jazykovými varietami ve výuce, zvyšování multikulturního povědomí studentů, povědomí o komplexnosti anglického jazyka a zaměření na realističtější výslovnostní cíl, který představuje „mezinárodní srozumitelnost“ s prvky cizího přízvuku.

List of figures

Figure 1. Kachru, B. (1982). Model of three concentric circles of English.


In Crystal, D. (2003). English as a Global Language (2nd ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Figure 2. Seidlhofer, B. (2011). Conceptual differences between EFL and ELF.


In Seidlhofer, B. (2011). Understanding English as a Lingua Franca. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Figure 3. Number of respondents per age

Figure 4. The highest and the lowest mean ratings per category

Appendices

Appendix I – Questionnaire in English - “Accents in English”

Appendix II – Questionnaire in Czech - “Přízvuky v mluvené angličtině“

Appendix III – Speech samples speakers’ details

Appendix IV – Sample group characteristics

Appendix V – English language use in situations per group

Appendix VI – The frequency of interactions per nationalities per group

Appendix VII – Evaluation of the speakers’ accents per group



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