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International Journal of the Sociology of Language

Founded by Fishman, Joshua A.

Ed. by Garcia Otheguy, Ofelia / Duchêne, Alexandre / Coulmas, Florian

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CiteScore 2016: 0.53

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Volume 2015, Issue 236


UK university students’ folk perceptions of spoken variation in English: the role of explicit and implicit attitudes

Robert M. McKenzie
Published Online: 2015-10-10 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl-2015-0020


Non-linguists’ attitudes towards language diversity are important since they reflect preferences and levels of prestige associated with particular speech communities. However, few studies measuring native-speaker attitudes towards both L1 and L2 English have been conducted, including amongst UK-born students. This is surprising in light of recent internationalisation policies adopted by many UK universities and the resultant increase in overseas students. The present study utilises implicit and explicit attitude measures to investigate 194 students’ perceptions of six English speech varieties. The results demonstrated that whilst explicit attitudes towards linguistic variation were generally favourable, when presented with speech samples, listeners’ implicit evaluations of UK English varieties were significantly more positive, on both status and solidarity dimensions, when compared to forms of Asian English. The findings are discussed in relation to the internationalisation agenda within UK universities and the methodological investigation into the relationship between explicit and implicit attitudes towards language variation.

Keywords: language attitudes; folklinguistics; explicit vs. implicit attitudes; internationalisation; native vs. non-native speakers


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About the article

Published Online: 2015-10-10

Published in Print: 2015-11-01

Citation Information: International Journal of the Sociology of Language, Volume 2015, Issue 236, Pages 31–53, ISSN (Online) 1613-3668, ISSN (Print) 0165-2516, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl-2015-0020.

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