As the main vehicle for communication in innumerable domains of global social activity, English has been celebrated for its ability to facilitate international communication. Yet, recent scholarly work has provocatively problematized the assumption that the widespread use of English has rendered the language neutral and accessible to all. This paper contributes to this line of research by drawing on data collected in a sequential explanatory mixed-methods dissertation study of the motivations, attitudes and ownership of Italian youth related to English. The focus of this paper is on L2 attitudes, defined as intrinsically linked to language ideologies, and as a form of invisible policy that determines language use and the prestige associated with a language. In this paper, drawing on questionnaire and interview data, the complexity of Italian youths’ attitudes towards varieties of English and English accents are described through the lens of the English variety to which they aspire, and the factors that reinforce and/or mediate these attitudes. Then, the decisive role of L2 attitudes in language education and English use are highlighted with an illustration of how language attitudes and ideologies shape youths’ efforts to claim ownership of English.

Accent, attitudes, and ownership of English: Perspectives of Italian college-bound youth

Jacqueline Aiello
2016-01-01

Abstract

As the main vehicle for communication in innumerable domains of global social activity, English has been celebrated for its ability to facilitate international communication. Yet, recent scholarly work has provocatively problematized the assumption that the widespread use of English has rendered the language neutral and accessible to all. This paper contributes to this line of research by drawing on data collected in a sequential explanatory mixed-methods dissertation study of the motivations, attitudes and ownership of Italian youth related to English. The focus of this paper is on L2 attitudes, defined as intrinsically linked to language ideologies, and as a form of invisible policy that determines language use and the prestige associated with a language. In this paper, drawing on questionnaire and interview data, the complexity of Italian youths’ attitudes towards varieties of English and English accents are described through the lens of the English variety to which they aspire, and the factors that reinforce and/or mediate these attitudes. Then, the decisive role of L2 attitudes in language education and English use are highlighted with an illustration of how language attitudes and ideologies shape youths’ efforts to claim ownership of English.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11386/4807236
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