Identity or Prestige: The Chameleon Effect on EFL Pronunciation


  •  Hanan Taqi    
  •  Nada Algharabali    
  •  Dalal Almubayei    

Abstract

Although there is a current tendency to deal with English as an international language, EFL pronunciation seems to be motivated by conceptions on identity and prestige. In this respect, the following study investigates the effect of identity and/or prestige on EFL speakers' English speech (or usage) in two different settings. Male and female participants from Kuwait University (63 in total), were given debate topics to engage in. Both their meetings and actual debates were recorded. The participants also filled a short questionnaire. The recordings were analyzed using Praat, while the questionnaire results were obtained using SPSS. The results show that the EFL speakers use different accents and various realizations of English consonants as a reflection of what is known as the Chameleon Effect. This study aims at helping teachers understand the difference between the speakers’ language knowledge and their actual performance.



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