The role of affinity in attitudes towards the English of native and non-native speakers


Abstract – To examine the issue of how far ELF can be endonormative, we report on a matched-guise test experiment (Lambert et al. 1960) measuring NNES ELF users’ reactions to ostensibly different speakers, some of whom identified as NES, others as NNES ELF users from the outer circle. Two speakers – one NES, the other a highly proficient NNES (Graddol 2010) – made various short recordings in a studio. Each of these was modified using specialist software to make them sound like different people without affecting intelligibility as regards pronunciation. On a Likert scale, respondents rated how happy they would be to speak like the persona in question. The object was to identify patterns in the way that the features of Nativeness, on the one hand, and Affinity on the other, interacted to affect attitudes to different manifestations of English, and whether any affinity effect (our provisional term) can be shown to exist as a possible alternative to the nativeness principle (Jenkins 2007; Seidlhofer 2001, 2011). That is, whether ELF users may use other ELF users that they find attractive as models for language use rather than the idealized NES.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v30p87

Keywords: Nativeness principle; attitudes to ELF; attractiveness effect; emulation


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