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Title: Attitudes beyond the inner circle : investigating Hong Kong students' attitudes towards English varieties
Author: Zhang, Qi
ISNI:       0000 0004 2707 0340
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2010
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The development of Hong Kong English has triggered a number of concerns amongst the local population with respect to its status. However, despite the prominence of research into attitudes towards language variation within sociolinguistics, very few studies focus on the Hong Kong context. Furthermore, while previous research has demonstrated that native English speakers tend to have more positive attitudes towards Standard English varieties as far as status is concerned, whereas non-standard varieties are usually evaluated more highly in terms of solidarity, we lack information about the attitudes of Hong Kong Chinese people with respect to different English varieties (particularly the local non-standard variety). This quantitative study sets out to investigate the attitudes of 44 Hong Kong university students with respect to eight varieties of English speech, i. e. educated Hong Kong English accent (HKed), the broad Hong Kong accent (HKbr), Received Pronunciation (RP), General American (AmE), Australian English (AusE), Tyneside English (TynE), Philippine English (PE) and Mandarin-accented English (ME). This study employed a range of direct (e. g., interviews) and indirect (e. g., the verbal-guise test) techniques of attitude measurement in order to obtain in-depth information regarding such perceptions. The results suggest that Hong Kong informants actually have relatively positive attitudes towards HKed - especially in terms of solidarity. Moreover, ME was evaluated comparatively highly, indicating that it might potentially develop into a ubiquitous `China English'. The finding that AmE was rated even more highly than RP provides grounds for suggesting that the replacement of RP by a General American accent could already be underway. Overall, though, Hong Kong informants prefer HKed since it is a variety close to RP. Therefore, although the results demonstrate that a certain amount of linguistic self-hatred does exist in Hong Kong, it is not extended to HKed and the broadness of local accents does indeed appear to play a role in Hong Kong people's language attitudes. Surprisingly, the ability to identify an accent, as well as a range of social variables tested had no significant effect on informants' attitudes towards the eight varieties of English under investigation. The thesis concludes with discussion of these findings with respect to the pedagogical implications they have for the choice of linguistic model in English language teaching both within the Hong Kong population and indeed with regard to other Chinese communities.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available