Trusting the Neighbours: Attitudes towards British Accents of English in Dutch L2 Speakers of English
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English has a large number of varieties, each of them perceived differently. Since the United Kingdom is a major trade partner and a neighbour of the Netherlands, this study carried out an experiment to determine whether Dutch L2 speakers of English have an opinion on British accents of English, and if so, which one they prefer. This study also investigated whether age, gender, level of education and region of birth affect this opinion. The participants were asked to listen to sound files of speakers who read out a text. The participants were then asked to write down to what degree they agreed with statements about the trustworthiness of the speaker on a 5-point Likert scale. The results showed that the London accent was perceived as most trustworthy, while the Birmingham accent was perceived as least trustworthy. No effect was found for age, gender or education level. An effect has been found for region of birth, however: participants from a region with relatively weakly divergent speech from Standard Dutch were overall less trusting than participants from a region with strongly divergent speech.