The endonormative standards of European English
Emerging or elusive?
It has been asserted that a common European variety of English is currently emerging. This so-called “European English” is claimed to be the result of convergence among non-native English speakers, and to reflect a gradual abandonment of Inner Circle norms, which are deemed to be increasingly irrelevant to non-native speakers’ communicative needs. Evidence is so far lacking that Europeans judge each other’s proficiency in English by anything other than native-speaker standards — particularly as regards pronunciation. Nonetheless, it would be interesting to establish whether European non-native speakers of English demonstrated convergence when evaluating the pronunciation of fellow Europeans, and in this respect deviated significantly not only from Inner Circle English native speakers but also from non-European judges. To investigate this possibility, a large-scale Internet survey was carried out in which different groups of users of English (native and non-native, European and non-European, N = 373) evaluated the pronunciation features of five European accents of English, by means of global ratings and detailed responses. The observed convergence of native and non-native judges’ responses does not correspond with emerging endonormative pronunciation standards on the European continent. Hence these findings fail to support the claims about an emerging European English variety.
Keywords: pronunciation, endonormative, European English, convergence, accent
Published online: 08 February 2013
Cited by 8 other publications
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