Accent In English Language Essay

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2.1.2. Accent and Phonetics

Phonetics, the sub-area of linguistics that studies the sounds of speech, defines an accent as a specific pronunciation which is determined by the phonetic habits of the speaker 's native language carried over to his or her use of another language (O’Grady, Archibald, Aronoff, Rees-Miller, 2005). In terms of phonetics the accent is viewed as the speaker’s ability/ inability to pronounce the phonemes of a second language correctly. So the accent is what makes the speech of non-native speaker sound differently. In the process of acquiring the first language we learn how to accommodate our articulatory apparatus in order to produce the phonemes, interestingly, when speaking the native language we almost never think how the sounds are articulated.
Of course, not all of the languages have the same phonemes; some of which have a direct counterpart or a similar sounding phoneme, while others do not exist in the L2. English language for example has 26 letters and 44 phonemes as compared to Spanish with 29 letters and 24 phonemes and to Russian with 33 letters and 42 phonemes (cite footnote). When learning the L2, learners tend to use the same ‘pronunciation tools’ as in speech production of their mother tongue, therefore distorting the sounds of L2. Thus researches (e.g. Lado, 1957) observe that L2
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Sociolinguistics look at what impact phonological features of the speakers or accent has on reactions and attitudes toward their speech and consequently toward the speaker as a person. Past studies have shown that language differences, in accent and grammar, found in both foreign and native language speakers, elicit reactions in listeners that transfer over to judgements about speakers’ personalities (Behrens & Rakowsky Neeman,

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