Attitudes of Non-native Spekers of English to Language Variation in Hawaii

Date
1986
Authors
McCreary, Jan
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Abstract
In an investigation of ESL learners' attitudes towards language varieties in New York City, Eisenstein (1982) found that her middle-class subjects, who were exposed mainly to Standard English, tended to evaluate the standard variety more favorably. The main purpose of the present study was to examine language attitudes of ESL learners living in low-income areas exposed to both standard and non-standard varieties of English. The matched-guise procedure was used to determine the attitudes of both native speakers (NS) and non-native speakers (NNS) of English towards two language varieties –standard English and Hawaii Creole English. The subjects were high school students (n=94) who were living in low to low-middle socio-economic areas, and who had had exposure to both language varieties. The NNS subjects were from various parts of Asia and the Pacific and had been in Hawaii for an average of 24 months. Based on previous research (Ryan and Carranza, 1975; Carranza and Ryan, 1975), it was hypothesized that both NSs and NNSs would rate standard English higher on those traits associated with status (e.g., wealth and good education) and solidarity (e.g., friendship and trustworthiness). Both hypotheses were supported by the results. In an investigation of ESL learners' attitudes towards language varieties in New York City, Eisenstein (1982) found that her middle-class subjects, who were exposed mainly to Standard English, tended to evaluate the standard variety more favorably. The main purpose of the present study was to examine language attitudes of ESL learners living in low-income areas exposed to both standard and non-standard varieties of English. The matched-guise procedure was used to determine the attitudes of both native speakers (NS) and non-native speakers (NNS) of English towards two language varieties –standard English and Hawaii Creole English. The subjects were high school students (n=94) who were living in low to low-middle socio-economic areas, and who had had exposure to both language varieties. The NNS subjects were from various parts of Asia and the Pacific and had been in Hawaii for an average of 24 months. Based on previous research (Ryan and Carranza, 1975; Carranza and Ryan, 1975), it was hypothesized that both NSs and NNSs would rate standard English higher on those traits associated with status (e.g., wealth and good education) and solidarity (e.g., friendship and trustworthiness). Both hypotheses were supported by the results.
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Keywords
esl students, anguage varieties, language attitudes, standard english, hawaii creole english, language status
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