Perceptions towards Native and Non-Native English Accent

Perceptions towards Native and Non-Native English Accent
Name of Author
Institutional Affiliation
Perceptions towards Native and Non-Native English Accent
Native speakers of any language are defined as individuals who have interacted with a
language and used it for communication for the longest period of their lives. In many cases, the
time of interaction starts from birth. To be considered native, these individual speakers must
have thrived in an environment where proficient indigenous users of the language exist, be able
to comprehend and speak the idiomatic forms of the language involved, and be competent in
discourse. Conversely, non-native speakers are those who have acquired a language as a
secondary one after previously acquiring a primary one. It is possible for non-native speakers to
be fluent and proficient in their second language. However, many challenges accompany such
speakers that make their usage of the language be considered substandard or ineffective.
Examples of such challenges include pronunciation, accent, grammar, and fluency. Regardless of
the existence of dialectal differences, the accent of a native speaker gets viewed as the standard
mark for a language. To some, this evokes the feeling that such speakers are superior to others
when it comes to communications and teaching abilities in the language. However, many
analyses indicate that native speakers may use the language perfectly in communication, but lack
the ability to transfer it to others in teaching processes. Despite being standard, their accents may
not be understood well by non-native learners. On the other hand, sufficiently proficient non-
native speakers may have an advantage in the passing of the language to others. This is because
of their ability to use other languages in explanations, especially where native vocabulary is new.
Dialectal Differences and Standard Language in English
One language may have numerous varieties. Many of such varieties may also have the
specific qualities of belonging to particular regions or particular groups of people. These are
referred to as dialects. While English and other dialects may present variances in pronunciation,
vocabulary, and grammar, they generally remain mutually comprehensible (Bryla-Cruz, 2016).
On the other hand, accent, which outlines the distinctive ways of pronunciation, is mainly
defined by the existence of dialects and varieties. According to Zapata and Lacorte (2017), the
English language has numerous dialects drawn from the United States, United Kingdom, and
other locations across the world. Each of these has native speakers with numerous differences in
accent and pronunciation. Nonetheless, all of them remain mutually comprehensible to native
and competent non-native speakers. In a similar way, standard and non standard varieties of
English draw lines between the formal and informal usage of language. Typically, the standard
forms of English get considered more official; hence, they get used in educational, court, church,
and government’s communications. Conversely, the non-standard forms prevail more as street
and colloquial forms.
Attitudes of towards Native and Non-Native Accent
Native and non-native students of English and other subjects predominantly develop
prejudices and attitudes on speakers of English depending on whether they are perceived as
native or non-native. As explained by Beinhoff (2013), the significance of this consideration
rests on the fact that post labeling periods of teacher nativity affects beliefs of competence levels
and related ability to deliver academic proficiency while teaching English. On a large scale,
native and non-native students of English project unified and divergent views on native and non-
native speakers and teachers of English (Llurda, 2006).
Students abilities to identify native and non-native speakers reveal a disparity between
native and non-native speakers of English (Moussu, 2010). When subjected to listening activities
involving both audio productions by native and non-native speakers, (Kelch & Santana-
Williamson, 2002) indicated that native students were explicitly able to identify and bias native
from non-native speakers of English. Perhaps, this was affiliated to their competency levels of
having spoken the language since childhood. A further evaluation of the effects of this on their
attitudes towards the native and non-native speakers revealed that most of the native students
believed that the accent of non-native speakers resulted in incompetency or limitations in the
language. Hence, they believed that non-native speakers are less competent in the language and
poor teachers of the same. This result in a bias and discrimination directed towards the former.
Overall attitudes of this group were negative with limited belief that the teachers have the ability
to deliver in teaching. However, they also possessed the ability to identify relatively proficient
non-native speakers of the language. On the other hand, native speakers, identified perfectly by
native students, enjoyed the projection that they were better and more competent instructors of
the language. This resulted in positive attitudes towards the speakers and the belief in their
Conversely, many non-native students failed to distinguish the clear line between native
and non-native speakers. In their consideration, many proficient non-native speakers qualified as
native speakers. The accompanying attitudes remained nevertheless. A further evaluation of the
topic by Kelch & Santana-Williamson (2002), Episcopo (2009), and Galloway (2017) revealed
that wide spread disparities existed in the areas that resulted in attitude differences in projections
towards native speakers and non-native speakers. Assessing likability of speakers, judgment on
training levels, beliefs related to the competence of speakers as teachers as instructors of English,
judgments related to degree of education, and pronunciation, the authors revealed that the
generation of attitudes is more related to perception of the teachers being native or noon-native
rather than their actual status on the same. Hence, teachers believed to be native scored positives
of over 800 in all the areas listed above in an experiment by Kelch & Santana-Williamson (2002)
that sought to assess these attitudes. On a scale of 0-1000, those perceived to be non-native
conversely scored less than 300 in mst of the fields. This is whether they were actually turned out
to be as predicted or not.
In a review of the advantages of native speakers and those of non-native speakers of
English in learning and teaching environments, Bryla-Cruz (2016), Coiro (2009), and Gabr
(2013) presented separate analyses that indicated a various disparities between native and
nonnative English speaking teachers. In the first category, the most affiliated issues believed to
be of benefit in associating with native speakers of English as teachers was the fact that they are
believed to bear abilities to teach effective pronunciation, and assist learners achieve fluency.
Most commentaries from learners on this topic focused on these issues based on the perception
that native speakers are the most fluent and proficient in the language. Waniek-Klimczak and
Shockey (2012), and Romero-Trillo (2012) identified selected advantages like empathy from
students, perceived symbiotic benefits of learning, and motivational advantages of the situation
in learning environments. Motivationally, both native and non-native students are believed t
draw the inspiration to perfect their English in a learning set-up where they see a non-native who
may not be fluent but has understood the language sufficiently. As explained by Cribb (2009),
native speakers may find the drive that they stand a chance of doing better in the language while
non-native students may look up to the non-native teacher as someone who was once in their
place and therefore a clear explanation that they too can make it.
With regard to empathy and symbiotic benefits, many students (both native and non-
native) presented the potential tendency of believing that the teacher would aid their learning
more because the former had gone through a lot to actualize their current positions. Martinez
(2017) also explained that student beliefs in the helpfulness of non-native teachers remained
connected to the idea that they would learn together. Most of them viewing the teacher as; ‘not
completely learned’ in the language and thus the necessity to learn more in the process of
Nonetheless, a dissenting perspective from Huang (2017) questioned the effectiveness of
these perspectives and attitudes and if they applied to native and non-native teachers of English
as had been projected by students and research. While the author agreed with a number of the
projections, he indicated that many of these projections would present misconstrued dimensions
because the original identification of native and non-native speakers was itself flawed.
Similarly, a review of teacher perspectives on language and non-standard varieties f
English revealed divergence in opinions and attitudes. Notably, such reviews engage native and
non-native teachers of English and their attitudes towards self, other teachers (native and non-
native), and students (native and non-native. In an analysis of non-native teachers attitudes on
this subject, Groom (2012) expressed that most of the non-native speakers preferred the usage of
English as lingua franca (universal secondary language for non-speakers. In a research involving
45 non-native teachers, the author found out that most of the teachers preferred having English as
the mode of instruction. They gave a number of reasons including the maintenance of
communication, intelligibility, sustained levels of professionalism, and reduced stress in learning
environments. On the other hand, while non-native speakers may remain enthusiastic on the
subject, Low (2016) explained that native speaking teachers may not share this enthusiasm.
While some of them believe non-native teachers may not deliver in teaching English effectively,
others openly express reservations concerning the same.
In analyzing perceptions towards native and non-native English accent, Wold (2006)
expressed that many challenges accompanied this act for non-native teachers and students. To
begin with, the inability to understand a language would be the first limitation. Discussed by
many authors, Pawlak, Mystkowska-Wiertelak, and Drozdział-Szelest (2017) explained that the
first barrier is the first language interference. This phenomenon occurs in numerous ways, when
one imports the rules of the first language and applies them to English. Another barrier projected
by Zapata and Lacorte (2017) is that of poor pronunciation, diction, and accent. This hinders the
internalization and understanding of vocabulary in the process of second language acquisition by
non-native speakers of English.
In conclusion, native and non-native accents of English among teachers and students in
learning environments draw mixed reactions and attitudes. Many native students of English view
non-native speakers and teachers relatively negatively. Similarly, non-native speakers of English
prefer natives to teach them the language. In many cases, these preferences attach perceived
proficiency and competency based on nativity. While this may not be the case, instances of
student inability to identify nativity in dialects indicates that these attitudes may be unfounded.
On the other hand, non-native teachers easily teach non-native students because they share
commonalities and may have the opportunity of submitting explanations in the first language if
they share it with the students.
Beinhoff, B. (2013). Perceiving identity through accent: Attitudes towards non-native speakers
and their accents in English. Oxford: Peter Lang.
Bryla-Cruz, A. (2016). Foreign accent perception: Polish English in the British ears. Newcastle
upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
Coiro, J. (2009). Handbook of research on new literacies. New York: Routledge Publishing.
Cribb, M. (2009). Discourse and the non-native English speaker. Amherst, N.Y: Cambria Press.
Episcopo, S. A. (2009). Non-native speaker attitudes toward non-native English accents. Austin,
Texas: University of Texas.
Gabryś, D. (2013). The affective dimension in second language acquisition. Bristol: Multilingual
Galloway, N. (2017). Global Englishes and change in English language teaching: Attitudes and
impact. Basingstoke: Taylor & Francis Ltd.
Groom, C. (2012). Non-native attitudes towards teaching English as a lingua franca in
Europe. English Today, 28(01), 50-57.
Huang, Z. (2017). Native and Non-Native English Speaking Teachers in China: Perceptions and
Practices. Singapore: Springer Singapore.
Kelch, K., & Santana-Williamson, E. (2002). ESL Students' Attitudes Toward Native- and
Nonnative-Speaking Instructors’ Accents. The CATESOL Journal, 14(1), 57-72.
Llurda, E. (2006). Non-native language teachers: Perceptions, challenges and contributions to
the profession. New York: Springer.
Low, E.-L. (2016). Pronunciation for English as an international language: From research to
practice. Abingdon: Routledge.
Martinez, A. J. D. (2017). Native and Non-Native Teachers in English Language Classrooms:
Professional Challenges and Teacher Education.
Martinez, A. J. D. (2017). Native and Non-Native Teachers in English Language Classrooms:
Professional Challenges and Teacher Education. Boston: De Gruyter Mouton.
Moussu, L. (2010). Influence of Teacher-Contact Time and Other Variables on ESL Students'
Attitudes Towards Native- and Nonnative-English-Speaking Teachers. TESOL
Quarterly, 44(4), 746-768.
Pawlak, M., Mystkowska-Wiertelak, A., & Drozdział-Szelest, K. (2017). Challenges of Second
and Foreign Language Education in a Globalized World: Studies in Honor of Krystyna
Drodział-Szelest. Cham, Switzerland: Springer.
Romero-Trillo, J. (2012). Pragmatics and prosody in English language teaching. Dordrecht:
Waniek-Klimczak, E., & Shockey, L. R. (2012). Teaching and Researching English Accents in
Native and Non-native Speakers. Springer Science & Business Media.
Wold, J. B. (2006). Difficulties in learning English as a second or foreign language. Regis:
Regis University Press.
Zapata, Gabriela C., & Lacorte, Manel. (2017). Multiliteracies Pedagogy and Language
Learning: Teaching Spanish to Heritage Speakers. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Place new order. It's free, fast and safe

550 words

Our customers say

Customer Avatar
Jeff Curtis
USA, Student

"I'm fully satisfied with the essay I've just received. When I read it, I felt like it was exactly what I wanted to say, but couldn’t find the necessary words. Thank you!"

Customer Avatar
Ian McGregor
UK, Student

"I don’t know what I would do without your assistance! With your help, I met my deadline just in time and the work was very professional. I will be back in several days with another assignment!"

Customer Avatar
Shannon Williams
Canada, Student

"It was the perfect experience! I enjoyed working with my writer, he delivered my work on time and followed all the guidelines about the referencing and contents."

  • 5-paragraph Essay
  • Admission Essay
  • Annotated Bibliography
  • Argumentative Essay
  • Article Review
  • Assignment
  • Biography
  • Book/Movie Review
  • Business Plan
  • Case Study
  • Cause and Effect Essay
  • Classification Essay
  • Comparison Essay
  • Coursework
  • Creative Writing
  • Critical Thinking/Review
  • Deductive Essay
  • Definition Essay
  • Essay (Any Type)
  • Exploratory Essay
  • Expository Essay
  • Informal Essay
  • Literature Essay
  • Multiple Choice Question
  • Narrative Essay
  • Personal Essay
  • Persuasive Essay
  • Powerpoint Presentation
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research Essay
  • Response Essay
  • Scholarship Essay
  • Term Paper
We use cookies to provide you with the best possible experience. By using this website you are accepting the use of cookies mentioned in our Privacy Policy.