TTW: De nieuwe generatie
  • ISSN 0169-7420
  • E-ISSN: 2213-4883
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Although the model of English pronunciation in Dutch schools is, and always has been, British English (commonly known as Received Pronunciation, RP), not only teachers, but also informed laymen notice that the pronunciation of learners seems to be more and more influenced by American English. An investigation into the nature and spread of this influence therefore seems in order. This paper discusses some of the preliminary results of a research project which aims to give an inventory and description of the influence of American English (General American, GA) on the pronunciation of 10 phonological variables, among which are /æ/ in words like classroom and wineglass, and flapped /t/ in words like pretty and meeting.A second aim of the project is to find out to which the degree the American and British varieties are attractive to our population. Therefore a number of listening tests were administered:- a preference test, in which subjects had to indicate which pronunciation of a lexical item they thought (a) best (i.e. confirm to the school norm) and (b) they would prefer to use themselves.- an identification test, in which subjects had to indicate whether an item was pronounced in RP or in GA.- a matched guise test consisting of 12 versions of the same story, read by 8 speakers, 4 of them in both varieties.A preliminary inventory shows that in roughly 25% of all the pronunciations of single lexical items (word list style) we can speak of an 'American-like' pronunciaton. The variables that are pronounced most frequently GA-like are flapped /t/ in little, /æ/ in classroom, /a/ in hockey and postvocalic /r/ in morning. It also appears that RP is still the preferred variety on both the preference tests, although this preference decreases slightly when asked which pronunciation they would prefer to use themselves. Roughly 65% of the items was correctly identified as being RP or GA. Finally, the matched guise test showed a significantly high rating of GA female voices on all factors except for the factor 'school-norm'. RP males and females scored relatively high on this factor as well as on 'social status', but dropped considerably on the 'activity' factor and remained below the GA voices on 'personal affect'.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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