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British attitudes towards Japanese-English bilinguals

Watanabe, Eimi 2018. British attitudes towards Japanese-English bilinguals. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Abstract

The aim of the thesis is to investigate British people’s attitudes towards Japanese-English early bilinguals and to consider whether prior information about the speakers had an influence on the listeners’ perceptions. The study used the verbal guise technique and had three groups of speakers: English monolinguals, Japanese-English early bilinguals and Japanese late learners of English. These speakers were all recorded reading the same passage. All the listeners (89 in total) were from the UK and they were separated into two groups. One group had been informed about the speakers’ language background before the test and the other group listened to the recordings without this information. The study supports the claim that external factors influence listeners’ judgements (Rubin, 1992; Hay and Drager, 2010) and found that this also applies when true information of the speakers is provided. The study found that early bilinguals are perceived similarly to monolinguals in terms of origin of accent and first language when listeners are not given any prior information. The two groups of listeners held statistically significantly different attitudes towards the early bilinguals and late learners. In contrast, prior information did not influence the perception of the monolinguals because the two groups of listeners perceived the monolinguals similarly regardless of the prior information. In addition, participants identified non-English features in the early bilinguals’ speech when they knew that the speakers were also fluent in Japanese. However, it is possible that this was accent hallucination (Fought, 2006), where listeners are hearing things that are actually not evident in the speech because the group without prior information rarely noticed such non-English features. The study also found that listeners’ views regarding the early bilinguals are contradictory as they perceived them positively as “balanced bilinguals” whilst at the same time accepting them less as L1 English users.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 17 May 2019
Last Modified: 17 May 2019 10:36
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/122627

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