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Volume 7 Number 1, Spring 2010, Pages 1-393   


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A Hollywood English Pronunciation for Japanese Students? An Exploration of Japanese University Students' Attitudes towards Japanese English Pronunciation

    Eoin Jordan


This article reports on a study that evaluated Japanese university students' attitudes towards Japanese English and inner circle English pronunciation, with the aim of gauging their level of acceptance of Japanese movie star Ken Watanabe as an English pronunciation role model. Students completed an online questionnaire that assessed how attractive, comprehensible and achievable they found Watanabe's English pronunciation in comparison to a British and an American actor's speech. The results of the study indicated that respondents regarded Watanabe's pronunciation as being significantly less attractive, but more comprehensible and achievable than that of the other two actors. No significant differences were observed between the responses for the inner circle speakers. Watanabe's Japanese English pronunciation appeared to be perceived as somehow inferior to that of the British and American speakers by participants, and this seems likely to be the main obstacle preventing the adoption of Watanabe as a pronunciation role model by Japanese students of English.

Keywords: pronunciation, role model, Japanese, World English