Pronunciation models in regional environments: a comparison and assessment of RP and SSE

Archer, Gemma (2018) Pronunciation models in regional environments: a comparison and assessment of RP and SSE. MRes thesis, University of Glasgow.

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For many years, the native speaker of English has been exclusively seen as the ‘standard’ or preferred pronunciation model of choice for L2 users of English, and the accent known as Standard British English, also called Received Pronunciation (RP), was seen as the normative. However, in environments where the aforementioned model has ‘a negligible number of speakers’ (Brown, 1991) and could even be described as ‘phantom’ (Daniels, 1995), the question of whether RP supports student perception and production better than a local standard model is particularly relevant. Scotland, with its range of academic institutions and growing number of international students could be considered such an environment.

In order to establish the most appropriate model for L2 students studying in Scotland, a 5-week explicit pronunciation study was conducted, with international students being exposed to 10 hours of pre-recorded pronunciation instruction with either an RP or a Scottish Standard English (SSE) model. Prior to beginning, and upon culmination of the course, students undertook diagnostic and summative testing in which perception and production of a range of pre-selected segmental and suprasegmental features was assessed. A control group was also assessed in order to establish whether any improvements in scores that occurred were due to the explicit pronunciation tuition, or were simply instances of implicit learning which developed upon exposure to the 21 hours of weekly English tuition all participants were receiving on their pre-sessional course.

Having been quantitatively analysed, test results show that after 5 weeks all groups, including the controls, made significant increases in their perception of Nuclear stress. There were also surprising significant increases in the perception of the tested, but not taught, segmental ɔ/O in the SSE and control group suggesting the occurrence of implicit learning. However, in terms of production, while results hint at a positive trend among SSE students, the RP group made the most significant increase in score after 5 weeks. This contrasts with the Control group’s results which decreased over the same time period.

Item Type: Thesis (MRes)
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: pronunciation, accent, regional Englishes, Scottish Standard English, Received Pronunciation, English as a Lingua Franca.
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PE English
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Language and Linguistics
Supervisor's Name: Smith, Dr. Rachel
Date of Award: 2018
Depositing User: Ms Gemma L Archer
Unique ID: glathesis:2018-30983
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2018 09:52
Last Modified: 23 Jan 2019 09:31

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