Whose English do you want? Perceptions of prospective English teachers in Hong Kong

Mee Ling LAI, Wai Kwan Alice CHOW

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


Despite the fact that “New Englishes” have increasingly captured the attention of scholars who promoted English as a lingua franca (ELF), L2 learners of English are consistently found showing distinct preference for the native varieties. To gauge Hong Kong students’ attitudes towards the native and non-native models of English, a test was devised through the verbal guise technique. Authentic speech samples of 10 speakers were used to elicit responses from 105 participants. Among the speakers, four are natives from the inner circle: UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand; six are non-native speakers of English from India, Hong Kong and mainland China, who were educated up to university level in their own place. Two speakers from each Asian country were chosen, one speaking with distinct phonological features of the local English variety while the other one more closely to the ELF norm. All respondents were local undergraduate students of the largest teacher education institute in Hong Kong, who aspired to be English language teachers in future. The results showed that the native English models were rated the most highly in all aspects, the ELF models second and the local models last. Among the local models, the two foreign Asian varieties were rated the lowest, showing that the respondents, despite having been educated on concepts of world Englishes, do not favour non-native accents which feature an identity other than that of their own. This paper then discusses the ideology behind students’ preferences and also the implications for teacher education and pedagogy.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015


Lai, M. L., & Chow, A. (2015, April). Whose English do you want? Perceptions of prospective English teachers in Hong Kong. Paper presented at The ACLL/ACTC 2015, Fifth Asian Conference on Language Learning and Technology in the Classroom: Integrated practices: Creating experiences to enhance learning, Art Center Kobe, Kobe, Japan.


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