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Japanese Students’ Reactions to International Speakers of English: native-speakerism and authenticity

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Presentation given at 5th Waseda ELF International Workshop, Tokyo

The data from this study comes from a larger data set which was collected during a year-long phase of Exploratory Practice research into Japanese University students’ perceptions of English as an international language. The data presented here comes from a task in which non-English majors at a Japanese University (n=25) were asked to watch eight videos of different speakers of English, all of whom hailed from different cultural backgrounds and used different spoken varieties of English. The videos featured Singapore English, British and American varieties as well as varieties from so-called expanding circle contexts such as Austria, China, Japan and Korea.

Participants rated each speaker for ‘authenticity’ on a scale from 1 to 10 and were asked to write a short comment to explain their choice. The results reveal that students showed an engrained native-speakerism to the way they felt about other speakers’ varieties of English, which is why they reacted negatively to so-called ‘non-standard’ varieties, showing particular prejudice against other East Asian speakers. The reasons for and connotations of this finding will be discussed in this presentation.

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Japanese Students’ Reactions to International Speakers of English: native-speakerism and authenticity

  1. 1. Japanese Students’ Reactions to International Speakers of English: native-speakerism and authenticity 5th Waseda ELF International Workshop, Tokyo 14th November 2015 11:30-50 CPD-LG07Richard Pinner
  2. 2. Overview Definitions • Authenticity and Native-speakerism Context • Of the study Samples • Reactions to international speakers
  3. 3. Authenticity Pinner, R. S. (2014). The authenticity continuum: Towards a definition incorporating international voices. English Today, 30(4), 22-27. Pinner, R. S. (2016). Reconceptualising Authenticity for English as a Global Language. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
  4. 4. Native-speakerism Holliday, A. (2005). The struggle to teach English as an international language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  5. 5. This Study
  6. 6. The Students N=25. 14 M 11 F
  7. 7. no. Speaker English L1 or L2 Nationality Video URL Average Overall 1 Ban Ki-moon EL2 Korean http://youtu.be/BQeUDcne3IE 5.12 133 2 Shinzo Abe EL2 Japanese http://youtu.be/3_FUnfw2grQ 5.77 150 3 Arnold Schwarzenegger EL2 Austrian http://youtu.be/EyhOmBPtGNM 8.58 223 4 Barack Obama EL1 North American http://youtu.be/ELrUi12cbrM 8.58 223 5 Dynamo EL1 British (Northern) http://youtu.be/YOaeXRZYNDs 6.58 171 6 Queen Elizabeth II EL1 British (RP) http://youtu.be/6E4v4Dw5Ags 9.00 234 7 14th Dalai Lama EL2 China (Tibet) http://youtu.be/1U7DYp6flPc 5.54 144 8 Naomi Watts EL1 British/Aus tralian http://youtu.be/6Nd51Cq3deA 7.88 205
  8. 8. 5.12 5.77 8.588.58 6.58 9.00 5.54 7.88 K ORE A N JA P A NE S E A US T RIA N NORT H A ME RIC A N BRIT IS H (NORT H E RN) BRIT IS H (RP ) C H INA (T IBE T ) BRIT IS H /A US T RA LIAN NATIONALITY Average
  9. 9. Overall average 5.12 (lowest) (4) “He’s Korean” [Chinese student] (8) “His English is formal and like native speakers!” (2) “He is not good at speaking English natively.” (4) “He speaks English fluently. But he doesn't make eye contact with people. Because his speech isn't persuasive.” (5) “I don't think he is poor at speaking English. However, he is a Korean.” (5) “The way he pronounced "L" and "R" / "B" and "V" seemed almost the same, so it sounded unnatural.”
  10. 10. Overall average 5.54 • (3) “Chinglish” [Chinese student] • (3) “He is a suspicious-looking person.” • (1) “I don't like him. I think he isn't a gentleman.” • (7) “I feel his English is not good. His English is similar to mine.”
  11. 11. Overall average 5.77 • (4) “ He makes eye contact with people and he try to convey his thought to people. But his way of talking is a fool.” • (5) “His English is easy for me.” • (10) “He is top of Japanese” • (4) “He made too many pauses between phrases, so it sounded quite awkward.”
  12. 12. Overall average 8.58 • (10) “I love Arnold Schwarzenegger and He is native English speaker.” • (9) “He is native and it is easy to hear.” • (10) “He is a native speaker.” • (9) “He is very nice guy” • (8) “The speed and rhythm of his English was closer to native speakers but I sometimes felt his "ur" sound and "or" sound unnatural.”
  13. 13. Overall average 9.00 (highest) • (8) “I want like Queen Elizabeth II. I want to go to England someday.” • (10) “Hers is royal. • (10) “Se [sic] is more 'authentic' because she must speak collect [sic] English.” • (10) “She is queen” • (10) “She is the queen” • (10) “She's a Queen” • (10) “Because It is official British movie” • (9) “Her native language is English, and her end of a word is not clear” • (5) “Because she spoke dispassionately, so I felt it is difficult to understand what she wanted to say.”
  14. 14. 6.25 8.01 E L2 E L1 AVERAGE EL2 VS EL1
  15. 15. Self-discrimination Reves, T., & Medgyes, P. (1994). The non-native English speaking EFL/ESL teacher's self-image: An international survey. System, 22(3), 353- 367.
  16. 16. A matter of life and death Seidlhofer, B. (2012). Corpora and English as a lingua franca. In K. Hyland, C. M. Huat & M. Handford (Eds.), Corpus applications in applied linguistics (pp. 135-149). London: Continuum.
  17. 17. Summary • You can download the slides and additional resources at www.uniliterate.com • Please email me! rpinner@sophia.ac.jp 11/14/2015 18
  18. 18. Thanks for your attention! 11/14/2015 19 Holliday, A. (2005). The struggle to teach English as an international language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Murata, K., & Jenkins, J. (Eds.). (2009). Global Englishes in Asian contexts: Current and future debates. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Pinner, R. S. (2014). The authenticity continuum: Towards a definition incorporating international voices. English Today, 30(4), 22-27. Pinner, R. S. (2016). Reconceptualising Authenticity for English as a Global Language. Bristol: Multilingual Matters. Reves, T., & Medgyes, P. (1994). The non-native English speaking EFL/ESL teacher's self-image: An international survey. System, 22(3), 353-367. Seidlhofer, B. (2012). Corpora and English as a lingua franca. In K. Hyland, C. M. Huat, & M. Handford (Eds.), Corpus applications in applied linguistics (pp. 135-149). London: Continuum.

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