Are native speakers the only model for ELF users?


Abstract – In this paper, we report on an experiment broadly following the matched-guise test technique (Lambert et al. 1960). In this, we collected NNES ELF users’ reactions, in the form of a Likert Scale, to recordings of various speakers, some of whom NES from the inner circle, others highly proficient ELF users from the outer circle (see Graddol 2010). Respondents were presented the same set of six speakers under different randomised guises according to the two parameters of ±NES (Native English Speaker) and ±Celeb (Celebrity), the latter chosen as a feature particularly relevant in the context of models and the motivation for emulation. Respondents, female Italian ELF users, were asked to rate how happy they would be to speak like the persona (whether genuine or invented) in question. The object was to see whether any discernable pattern could be identified in the way that the features of ±NES and ±Celeb interact to affect attitudes to different manifestations of English, and whether a “celebrity effect”, in particular in respect to NNES, can be shown to exist as a possible rival the nativeness principle (see Seidlhofer 2001, 2011, Jenkins 2007). In our conclusions, we identify a possible third parameter namely affinity between respondent and speaker.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v26p101

Keywords: Non-standard NES, nativeness principle, attitudes to ELF, celebrity effect


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