Globalisation And Technology On English English Language Essay

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With the advent of globalisation and technology, English is now spoken in almost every country of the world with a majority of speakers whose English is not their mother tongue (Bex, 1999). Crystal (1997) claims that there are approximately seventy-five territories where English is spoken as L1 (mother tongue), or as an official or institutionalised L2 (second or foreign language). This has in turn allowed English to become the leading language for academic knowledge dissemination, which has affected the lives of a myriad of students and professionals who now yearn for English language academic discourses to be able to handle their learning and to cope with their disciplines (Hyland and Hamp-Lyons, 2002). Due to these demands, a new field in the teaching of English as a second language (ESL)/ foreign language (EFL) in several academic institutions and universities has emerged: English for Academic Purposes or EAP (Hyland and Hamp-Lyons, 2002).

EAP deals with the language and other associated practices and skills which people require when undertaking study or work in English medium academic settings (Gillet, 2011). In McCarter and Jakes (2009: 9) own words, "it is this focus on preparing students for the specific academic requirements of English for higher education that distinguishes EAP from General English Language Teaching (ELT). It has, therefore, become paramount, over the past decades, for college and university students in a variety of countries all over the world to gain the right English required for them to prosper in acquiring subject knowledge through lectures, journals, textbooks in English, among others (Hyland and Hamp-Lyons, 2002).

The development of these types of programmes has taken different directions and has transformed the way in which language teaching and research are carried out in higher education (Hyland and Hamp-Lyons, 2002). The changes in teaching have thus affected the manner language tutors and lecturers prepare learners to function within academic contexts. However, EAP has been accused of adopting an credulous and unquestioning view towards the departments and the disciplinary practices that students experience in academic institutions (Benesch, 2001). As Benesch (2001: x) puts it, "The traditional EAP approach has been described as "accommodationist" and it has been suggested that EAP too easily adopts the role of just fitting students into the mainstream activity of their department and into subordinate roles in the academic world".

It is the aim of the present dissertation to explore if the actual role of the EAP teacher in foundation and pre-sessional university courses in the UK is (a) to replicate and reproduce existing forms of discourse and power, or to help develop an understanding of them to allow students to challenge them; (b) to help students cope with basic academic skills, i.e. essay writing, note taking and lecture participation, among others, or to help students perform well in their academic courses while providing students with a platform for voicing their opinions, being able to synthesise ideas and drawing critical conclusions; (c) to view students as passive participants carrying out tasks, or as active participants who could assist on shaping academic goals and assignments.

2. Literature Review

2.1. What is EAP?

In general terms, "EAP is concerned with those communication skills in English which are required for study purposes in formal education systems" (ETIC 1975 cited in Jordan, 1997: 1). EAP can take place in variuos academic settings from solely English-speaking contexts to English-medium courses in countries whose L1 is not English (Jordan, 1997). In the second case, English may be a foreign language (EFL) or an official or second language (ESL). Thus, students may need EAP for their higher education studies or to be able to study abroad. Moreover, the teachers could be native speakers (NS) or non-native speakers (NNS) and the courses could be pre-sessional - held before an academic term or year and usually full-time - or in-sessional - during an academic term or year and usually part-time (Jordan, 1997). With respect to the length of EAP courses, it may vary from 4-12 weeks (short courses) to 6-12 months or longer (long courses). Furthermore, most EAP courses in UK universities are generally run by Language Centres, ELT units or English departments with a variety of similar names (Jordan, 1997).

The focus of EAP courses is on academic genres, the nature of academic tasks (Swales, 1999), and the production of academic texts acceptable at an English-medium higher education institution (Silva, T and Kei Matsuda, 2002). The programmes are designed to provide students with techniques which will allow them to succeed in an academic context. Moreover, the teaching methodology aims at recreating the conditions and contexts of higher education academic writing to enable students to analyse academic discourse genres such as reports, research papers, theses, dissertations, etc. and to present data following the principles acceptable to the academy (Silva, T and Kei Matsuda, 2002). Within this paradigm the writer is perceived as pragmatic and keen on succeeding in this context, while the reader is part of the academic community and expects clear and specific language uses to meet the standards which the academic discourse requires (Silva, T and Kei Matsuda, 2002). Finally, the text is "viewed as a more or less conventional response to a particular writing task that fits a recognisable genre" (Silva, T and Kei Matsuda, 2002: 262). However, this generic definition of EAP does not take into account specific disciplines. Therefore, the distinction between general and specific EAP courses should be mentioned.

EAP courses could be classified as English for general academic purposes (EGAP) or English for specific academic purposes (ESAP). While the former focuses on study skills such as listening and note-taking, academic writing, reference skills, academic register, style and vocabulary common to all disciplines; the latter is subject specific English (e.g. medicine, economics) and the courses will focus on the language, vocabulary and appropriate academic conventions needed for a particular academic subject (Jordan, 1997 and Hyland, 2006). Hyland (2006) lists reason for choosing EGAP or ESAP. To support taking an EGAP approach he mentions that (a) EAP teachers lack control and knowledge over specialist content; (b) students with a limited command of English first need EGAP to be able to later master discipline-specific learning situcations and tasks; (c) subject-specific courses tend to relagate EAP courses to a low-status service, which deprofessionalises EAP teachers and isolates EAP units; (d) the teaching of general academic English adds a humanities side to the students' experience; (e) there are many general skills such as skimming and scanning, paraphrasing and summarising, taking notes, giving presentations, among others, which are believed not to noticibly differ from discipline to discipline; (f) there are not enough variations in the grammar, functions or discourse structure to justify ESAP. On the other hand, Hyland lists six reasons which object EGAP courses and therefore support ESAP: (a) content lecturers do not have a clear understanding of the role the language plays in a specific discipline and rarely deal with language issues; (b) students do not learn in a step-by step fashion so they can both focus on general and specific language uses at the same time; (c) EAP professionals are not just concerned about teaching generic skills but also the uses of language with clear disciplinary values; (d) ESAP considers the difficulties of engaging in the specific literacies of disciplines and the specialised professional competences of the professionals who teach them; (e) the idea of a "common core" of language items is highly questionable; (f) EAP courses do not only focus on the teaching of form but also on a variety of subject-specific communicative skills. Decisions regarding the choice of an EGAP or an ESAP approach (which depends, in part, on whether students are heterogeneous in terms of discipline) will have an important impact on how EAP practicioners understand their field, carry out their work and how they are perceived within their institution. Moreover, it may mean that EAP tutors would have to work closely with subject specialists in order to link an EAP course to a content course, for example, which would make EAP teachers less centred on texts without a context but on genre as an interactive process (Hyland, 2006). These choices would not only influence EAP research but also EAP teaching methodologies (Hyland, 2006).

2.2. Historical origins of EAP

EAP is now at the forefront of language education and has developed dramatically over the past twenty-five years (Hyland, 2006). The term EAP first appeared in a collection of papers edited by Cowie and Heaton in 1977 and is said to have been coined by Tim Johns in 1974 (Hyland, 2006). EAP is one of the two branches of ESP (English for specific purposes, previously called English for special purposes) together with EOP (English for ocupational pursposes) which relates to language for the workplace and for professionals such as doctors, egineers, etc. (Dudley-Evans, 2001). Although it developed under the umbrella term of ESP, it quickly separated from it as, while ESP courses restric the language, grammar, language functions, topics, discourse topics and communicative needs to those that relate to the learner's immediate purpose, EAP courses provide subject matter which is relevant and specific for the students but also general enough to be applied in other academic contexts (Hamp-lyons, 2001).

EST (English for science and technology) was the first form of EAP in the mid 1960s and early 1970s which, at that time, aimed at providing an alternative to ELT as humanities and at teaching language that could match specific needs and objectives of learners (Benesch, 2001). At tat time the focus of EST was that of register and rhetorical analysis and the vocabulary and grammatical choices were the context and focus of teaching (Benesch, 2001). Later on the focus of EAP moved away from this onto communication, skills and learning strategies. Most recently, however, the attention has shifted to social practices and language as discourse (Benesch, 2001).

The key defining features of all ESP courses is Needs Analysis, which supplies information regarding the target situation, i.e. "what learners will have to do in English and the skills and language needed" (Dudley-Evans, 2001: 133). The general term used to refer to this initial needs analysis is called Target Situation Analysis (Chambers, 1980 cited in Dudley-Evans, 2001). However, more details about the learner are required such as their own perceptions of what they need or the Learning Situation Needs, and the investigation of learners' weaknesses or Present Situation Analysis (Dudley-Evans, 2001). Moreover, for ESP courses to be successful, "the environment in which English is taught versus that in which it is used must be assessed" (Dudley-Evans, 2001: 133). This is generally referred as Means Analysis. Finally, another important issue in the teaching of English in EAP courses is Genre. Genre Analysis refers to making sense of the variety of communicative events which take place in the contemporary English-speaking academy (Swales, 1990; Silva and Kei Matsuda, 2002).

However, since the 1980s, when the Journal for Specific Purposes began, EAP has grown drammatically due to English expanding with the increasing reach of global markets (Hyland, 2006). For this reason, it became paramount for many countries to develop professionals who could function in employment in English. Paralelly, because of English becoming the "leading language for for the dissemination of academic kanowledge" there was a significant impact in scholars around the world who now needed English to be able to publish in their fields (Hyland, 2006:2). The latter process is often referred to as Internationalisation or Englishisation of higher education (Phillipson, 2009). As a result, there have been major changes in student populations and demographics in higher education in the English-speaking world, which have become noticibly diverse with respect to their language, backgrounds, ethnics and educational backgrounds and experiences. This situation represents a challenge for EAP courses and in particular, EAP academic staff in colleges and universities (Hyland, 2006).

2.3. Political and Economic Origins of EAP

Although the acceptance of English as a world language is generally seen as a natural, logical and inevitable process, authors such as Benesch (2001) believe that this phenomenon has taken place due to the efforts of both governments and private companies from the UK and the US which promoted English around the world for political and commercial purposes. The same author states that there is a strong connection between these efforts and the expansion of ESP. In the author's own words,

"Missing from all of these discussions of ESP's origin are the coordinated efforts of UK and US governmental agencies to vigorously promote English language teaching at home and abroad and to support ESP to further certain political and economc interest" (Benesch, 2001: 27)

Phillipson (1992) demonstartes in Linguistic Imperialism that in order to increase the influence of English worldwide, governmental agencies, industries, foundations and universities from both the US and the UK worked to promote the teaching and learning of English for political and economic reasons. Moreover, the same author believes that the main institutions which promoted the dominance of English around the world were the British Embassies, the BBC and the British Council. An example Philipson (1992) uses to illustrate these efforts is the Commonwealth Conference on the teaching of English as a second language held at Makerere, Uganda in 1961. On that occasion, there were representatives of twenty-three countries who were assumed to have ELT aid needs and expected support from England, and representatives from the ELT world. The British ELT specialists were directors of university departments and the head of the British Council's ELT operations. The ELT experts elaborated a list of tenets which would influence the teaching of ELT from that moment onwards. These tenets were based on priorities for ELT in the newly independent countries, such as India, Nigeria, among others (Phillipson, 1992). As a result, teachers from non-developing areas, also known as periphery, were trained following these tenets working, unconsciously, as a means of propagating the centre's (developing areas) assumptions on how and what of English should be taught (Pillipson, 1992). One of the key tenets was the monolingual one - English is learnt better if students only receive input in English - considered by many ELT experts a fallacy used by the centre to deny the use of L1 in order to strengthen the hold of the centre over the periphery (Phillipson, 1992). Gaffey (2005: 12) also supports this view: "Outlined at the Makerere conference in 1961, the tenets of ELT reflect its eurocentric approach and lend support to the inequality produced from the global spread of English. For example, the principle that monolingual instruction will foster efficiency facilitates a legitimation of a patronising view of native languages".

Following this line of thought, many authors agree that because of globalisation, there has been a spread of English worldwide, which has allowed the language of the centre, English, to expand, and has also permitted ELT to become a profitable business. Graddol (1997), for instance, agrees that the rapid expansion of ELT because of U.S. economic growth and the use of English in technology have made English become a lingua franca. For this reason, language acquisition, in this case English, is seen as a tool in service of other goals, generally leading toward greater economic access (Pennycook, 1999). Since globalisation pushes countries to stay up to date and to use English as the language for global communication, ELT has turned into a very profitable business for the centre (Graddol, 1997; Gray, 2002). Moreover, the periphery supplies the raw material and the centre the finished products - books, theories, methodologies and journals - therefore providing many working posts for the centre, creating a whole business organised around ELT, and delineating the ELT profession (Phillipson, 1992). What is more, this professional structure also links up with economic imperialism, allowing the global marketing of monolingual textbooks coming from the centre, thus reinforcing anglocentricity - centred or focused on England or English in relation to historical or cultural influence. Gaffey (2005: 7) supports this view and remarks that "the growth of English as an international language can be conceived as linguistic imperialism and is linked to the current global supremacy of capitalism".

ELT has then become a significant channel of the hegemonic culture, and ELT coursebooks and methodologies are "commodities to be traded [and] what they contain is the result of the interplay between, at times, contradictory commercial, pedagogic and ethical interests" (Gray, 2002: 157). Cultural hegemony is a concept coined by Gramsci. By hegemony, Gramsci meant the permeation throughout society of an entire system of values, attitudes, beliefs and morality that has the effect of supporting the status quo in power relations (Burke, 1999). Hegemony is the power of the ruling class to convince other classes that their interests are the interests of all. Domination is thus exerted not by force, nor even necessarily by active persuasion, but by a more subtle and inclusive power over the economy, and over the state apparatuses such as education and the media, by which the ruling class' interest is presented as the common interest and thus comes to be taken for granted (Ashcroft et al., 2000; Canagarajah, 1999).

Furhermore, Benesch (2001) suggests that without EAP teachers acknowledging the underlying goals and motivations behind the teaching of ELT and ESP in particular, it is not possible to for them to understand the ethics of their practice, the institutions where they work, and the consequences of their own teaching practice. Moreover, Benesch (2001: 27) states that "ESP was never, nor is it now, purely a language-teaching enterprise but also a political and economic one".

2.4. EAP: pragmatic or critical exercise?

There are two approaches to EAP which are concerned with its ethics: whether EAP, as a pragmatic exersice, helps students to fit into academia and the discourse of their disciplines, or whether as a critical exercise, EAP should urge learners to understand the power relations present in their academic contexts and fields (Hyland, 2006). The answer to this question will have a central role in determining the nature of EAP and the way EAP practitioners view and practise it.

Pragmatism in EAP encourages teachers to examine the context of teaching and the learners' background and needs to enable practioners to make informed decisions with respect to content, readings, tasks and methodologies which will be employed during the course. For Hyland (2006) this shows EAP teachers' effort and commitment as they seek to determine leaners' needs, negotiate appropriate educational goals with content practitioners, design adecuate materials and establish learning tasks. The aim of this approach is to enable leaners to develop their academic communicative competence (Swales, 1990) by providing them with the academic genre knowledge which will allow them to be competent users of it in their fields (Hyland, 2006). Allison (1996) also mentions that EAP practitioners and scholars who adhere to pragmatism attempt to put their views and actions in context in order to deepen educational experiences and opportunities. In the author's own words, a pragamatic approach "aims to take full account of contextual possibilities and constraints in pursuing desired goals and in assessing the costs and benefits of proposed action (e.g., a particular course design or evaluation procedure) and its likely outcomes" (Allison, 1996: 87).

One of the setbacks of this approach is that esteemed genres represent an elite of expertise and power (Hyland, 2006). Therefore, while encouraging learners to achieve academic communicative comptence, EAP professionals could also be suppressing the students' creativity and relinquishing their academic identity by prioritising the genre and discourse accepted by the academy (Hyland, 2006). Benesch adds that her "critique of EAP's ideology of pragmatism is directed at its assumption that students should accommodate themselves to the demands of academic assignements, behaviours expected in academic classes, and hierarchical arrangements within academic institutions" (2001: 41).

On the other hand, critical EAP seeks students' engagement in decisions regarding tasks and activities they will be to excute during the course, and also fosters learners to questions and even modify those tasks (Hyland, 2006). An interesting concept worth mentioning is Critical Language Awareness, which intends to "empower leaners by providing them with a critical analytical framework to help them reflect on their own language expriences and practices and on the language preactices of others in the institutions of which they are part and the wider society in which they live" (Clark and Ivanic, 1997 cited in Hyland, 2006: 32). Two authors worth mentioning due to their contributions to Critical EAP are Benesch and Pennycook.

Benesch (2001) bases her Critical EAP approach mainly on Freire's critique to pragmatism since it "hides injustice and inequality in endrosing business as usual" (Benesch, 1993 cited in Benesch 2001: 51). The same author believes that since EAP is guided by pragmatism, it is paramount that it adopts a more ethical and critical stance towards the academic and workplace demands which EAP learners are affected by. Following this line of thought, due to exclusion of students' participation in syllabus design, tasks or classroom activities and the teacher's acceptance of the requirements imposed by their institution, education ignores student's lives and backgrounds and only aims at transferring knowledge, thus denying learners their humanity (Benesch, 2001). For Benesch "critical pedagogy is a dialogue about emergent themes that leads to greater understanding of their contradictions and their historical context, and formulation of ways to respond to them" (2001: 52). This does not mean that critical pedagogy ignores demands made by students or the workplace with respect to course content, etc. but that it examines those demands critically (Benesch, 2001). What critical EAP aims at achieving is to allow learners to analyse critically demands externally imposed and negotiate their responses to them (Benesch, 2001). According to Freire, denying learners the possibility to engage in this dialogue is unethical since the only options which it offers is compliance (Freire, 1970 in Benesch, 2001). Benesch agrees with Freire's view and relates this concept to EAP by adding that "Critical EAP offers alternatives to unquestioning obedience, assuming that students have the right to interrogate the demands they face" (2001: 53). In other words, since learners are provided with socially approved ways of communicating, critical EAP theorists believe that the academic genres they teach support disciplinary hierarchies and social powerful groups' values by strengthening specific social roles and relationships between readers ans writers (Hyland, 2006).

Pennycook (1997) argues that pragmatism in ESL and EAP is a prevalent and undisputed ideology in itself and that it adopts a conservative position towards academic discourses and therefore, it attempts to change learners to adapt to the academic culture hence perpetuating it. Pennycook's critique to pragmatism was intentended as a response to Allison's support of pragmatism in EAP since, in the author's opinion, critical EAP should "consider any relationships between pragmatism and conformism as contigent, and not essential" (1996: 86) and should not assume that "a discourse or an educational status quo seeks to maintain itself by suppressing dissenting voices" (1996: 86). Moreover, Allison (1996) questions whether the assumptions made by critical EAP theorists against pragmatism are based on prior stipulations instead of on empirical investigations. On the other hand, Pennycook (1997) disagrees with Allison (1996) and argues that the concept of pragmatism is a complex and widely used notion. For this reason, he makes a distiction between vulgar pragmatism and critical pragmatism, which he takes from Cherryholmes (1988). Vulgar pragmatism values functional efficiency by accepting both implicit and explicit standards, rules, social conventions, ways of doing things, conventional organisations and discourses found around us without questioning or criticising them (Cherryhomes, 1988 in Pennycook, 1997). Moreover, it propagates local ideologies and values as if they were global in the same way that it promotes past ideologies as the ones of the present and the future (Cherryhomes, 1988 in Pennycook, 1997). On the other hand, critical pragmatism constantly provokes the analysis of judgements thus making choices (whether ethical, aesthetic or epistemological), which would then translate into discourse practices (Cherryhomes, 1988 in Pennycook, 1997). Pennycook (1997) seems to be concerned by the fact that the pragmatism of EAP tends to be vulgar rather than critical, which is at risk of replicating rules, conventions, beliefs and ideologies that are likely to maintain unequal social and cultural relations hence reinforcing the status quo both in academia and society (Pennycook, 1997).This is made available by the notion of EAP as a neutral activity, which allows for vulgar pragmatism rather that critical (Pennycook, 1997). EAP's contruction as a neutral activity is possible due to the existance of certain discourses of neutrality that "focus, first, on the neutrality of language - neutral in general, neutral as a global commodity and neutral in the international domain" (Pennycook, 1997: 257). The same author adds that these discourses also focus on science and technology viewed as universal and neutral instead of cultural and political, and on the neutrality of the students' lives and backgrounds and the academic institutions seen as places where neutral educational exchange occurs (Pennycook, 1997). As a result, it becomes essential for critical EAP to understand the relationship between English and discourses of science, technology and education and its role as a "national and international gatekeeper to these domains" (Pennycook, 1997: 265). These issues become then an intrinsic constituent of EAP curriculum (Pennycook, 1997). However, one of the tensions critical EAP would have to learn to deal with is how to provide students with the academic language demanded by teaching them to adhere to academic conventions while challenging them at the same time (Pennycook, 1997).

Finally, the main criticism to critical EAP is that the issues of power in education tend to be raised by teachers rather than students and for this reason, critical EAP runs the risk of speaking for students instead of helping them to speak for themselves.

Benesch 2003 TESOL quarterly "ESL, ideology and the politics of pragmatism" ADD

2.5. The role of the EAP teacher

3 approaches: skills approach, socialisation, academic literacies? Hyland page 16-23

Hyland page 35 (last 2 paragraphs)

The issue of specificity (EGAP or ESAP) is an area of difficulty for EAP professionals as it "challenges EAP teachers to take a stance on how they view language and learning and to examines their courses in the light of this stance" (Hyland, 2006: 9). Therefore, EAP teachers must decide whether it is possible to transfer skills and features of language across different disciplines of wether the focus whould be specific and discipline dependent (Hyland, 2006).

Hyland page 29 (last paragraph)

Critical EAP teachers page 60 (last sentence) Benesch

Pennycook 1997 page 263

3. Research methodologies

Research in SLA (second language acquisition) can be conducted in various ways, and research methodologies, general approaches to studying a research topic (Silverman, 1993), differ from each other according to (a) assumptions about the nature of the world; (b) the organisation of the study; (c) the instruments used to collect data (Locke et. al., 1998). All these variations have resulted in paradigmatic differences such as quantitative and qualitative research. Nevertheless, a type of research "is good or bad to the exact degree that it fits well or poorly with the question at hand" (Locke et. al., 1998: 121).

This particular research will adopt a mixed methods research approach (Dörnyei, 2007), which attempts to bring together both quantitative - the most traditional type of research, which concerns counting (Holliday, 2002) - and qualitative research - which aims at understanding individuals' perceptions of the world (Bell, 2010) by using "non-numerical and unstructured data and methods" (Punch, 2005: 28). Therefore, both statistical (numerical data obtained from a questionnaire) and non-statistical methods (one open question in the questionnaire) will be employed. However, the main type of research is quantitative and the extra qualitative data can be viewed as additional to the core investigation.

The questionnaire is an example of the VGT, in which people rate personality qualities - educated, friendly, intelligibility, if it sounds typically English and if it is the kind of English they would like to speak. This technique is indirect since the respondents are not aware that they are rating speakers' language instead of personal characteristics, intelligibility or desired accent. The five samples selected for this study are authentic voice clips from different speakers: American speaker from Chicago, Irish speaker from Belfast, English speaker from Kent, Scottish speaker from Edinburgh, and Indian speaker currently living in Exeter.

4. Rationale

5. The sample

The study was carried out in a private English language school in the city of Canterbury. The sample, representatives of the population to be investigated (Bell, 2010), includes 36 students from two different

This sample can be considered representative of the population being investigated since the nationalities, ages and types of course are the typical ones teachers in such institution have to deal with every week. This sample is therefore representative of this particular teaching reality.

6. Research questions

The goal of this essay is to have a better understanding of students' attitudes towards English accents and in which way this could affect teachers' practice. Following this line of thought, four research questions were stated: (a) which varieties of English do students consider typically English, educated and friendly? (b) which accents do students understand more? (c) Which accents do students want to speak and why? (d) how can students' expectations and attitudes affect teaching models and teaching approaches to pronunciation, intonation and accent?

This area of research was selected due to a constant demand from teachers and group leaders that accent, intonation, pronunciation and colloquial/ informal/ everyday English be taught as course content during the students' stay in England. Having to deal with these requests every week, I always find myself wondering what it is that these teachers mean by this and more importantly, what students' actually desire and believe in. Obtaining some insights into students' attitudes and perceptions would in turn help me to understand my teaching reality and make decisions when selecting material, planning lessons and so on and so forth.

7. The research design and methods of data collection

8. The results

9. Teaching implications

10. Limitations

"Reliability refers to the degree of consistency in which instances are assigned to the same category by different observers or by the same observer on different occasions" (Hammersley, 1992:67). In qualitative research reliability may be threatened by subjectivity. In this particular case, as the researcher carried out the questionnaires in her own place of work and with her own students, reliability could have been affected by the researcher's subjectivity. Validity has to do with the extent to which an account represents the phenomena to which it refers to (Silverman, 1993). While Internal validity refers to whether or not the author's interpretation of the data analysed seems to correspond with reality (Dörnyei, 2007), external validity refers to the application of the study to other learning situations or students (Paltridge et. al., 2010).

Therefore, the results of the present research cannot be generalised as they only apply to this small sample in question including their nationality, age, type of course, level of English, institution, voice clips, and so on. All these dependant variables, specifically selected by the researchers in order to guide their investigation towards the expected findings (Balnaves et. al., 2001), may have affected the results and therefore, if the dependent variables were different, dissimilar perceptions and attitudes to accents (independent variable) could have been identified. Moreover, the voice clips themselves may have impacted on students' choices due to the various topics discussed in the clips, the length and speed of the clips, the gender of the speakers, the use of informal language and humour, and the quality of the clips. In order to get some more information about students' choices, follow up interviews could be carried out to try to understand students attitudes to accents even further.

Finally, more research with large and varied samples of ELF students should be carried out in order to continue testing these results so that these kinds of questions regarding accent attitudes and perceptions can be raised more widely in this field.

11. Conclusion


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