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Keywords:

  • language attitudes;
  • native vs. non-native speakers;
  • language and identity;
  • English as a lingua franca/international language;
  • sociolinguistics

This paper, through the employment of a verbal-guise study and techniques incorporated from perceptual dialectology, investigated the attitudes of 558 Japanese university students towards six varieties of English speech. Although the results suggest a particularly favourable attitude towards standard and non-standard varieties of UK and US English in terms of ‘status’, informants expressed greater ‘solidarity’ with a Japanese speaker of heavily-accented English. Differences in the students’ gender, self-perceived proficiency in English, exposure to English and evaluations of varieties of Japanese all had significant effects on the informants’ attitudes. The findings are discussed in relation to the pedagogical and language planning implications in English language teaching inside and outside Japan.

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