It is "broken" and "accented": Non-native English-speaking (NNES) Graduate Students' Perceptions toward NNES Instructors' English

Hyo Jung Keira Park, Purdue University


This study investigates the perceptions of non-native English-speaking graduate students towards non-native English speaking (NNES) instructors’ accented English. Students (N=161) who were enrolled in an oral English course at Purdue University participated in a survey. Follow-up interviews were conducted with voluntary participants (N=9) to examine the perceptions of NNES graduate students towards NNES instructors in depth. The findings in the survey showed that more than one third of the participants experienced difficulty with their NNES instructors due to their limited intelligibility and restricted command of English. Furthermore, one third of the participants expressed that they would transfer to another section of a course if the NNES instructor of the course speaks highly accented English. However, the majority of them believed NNES instructors can be as effective as NNS instructors. More overtly negative views were found during the interviews; many of the interviewees revealed strong desire to avoid NNES instructors with particular language backgrounds. Familiarity with the accents also played a significant role in ameliorating their negative perceptions toward NNES instructors. When there were communication breakdowns between the respondents and their NNES instructors, they tended to give up listening to the lectures and sought other resources or solutions to keep up their study address difficulties. Moreover, the majority of the interview participants expressed that they would avoid to discuss discussing the communication issues with their NNES instructors directly as it would be seen as rude and disrespectful.




Silva, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Linguistics|English as a Second Language|Higher education

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