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Volume 8 Number 4, Winter 2011, Pages 1-248   

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Choosing an Appropriate Pronunciation Model for The ELT Classroom: A Hong Kong Perspective

    Jim Y. H. Chan and Stephen Evans

The study reported in this article examines Hong Kong secondary school students' recognition of and attitudes towards Hong Kong English (HKE) as an autonomous variety of English and thus as a potentially suitable pronunciation model in the local ELT classroom. The study is based on findings derived from a questionnaire survey of 531 participants from a wide range of secondary schools in the territory. The survey findings reveal that local students have a generally negative attitude towards the existence of HKE as a variety and the adoption of HKE as a teaching model. However, there is no consensus among the participants as to whether the use of HKE equates to a low level of English. The evidence also suggests that the majority of students have limited exposure to spoken English. While students' reservations about the localised pronunciation seem to accord with earlier research, the article argues that Hong Kong students are indeed offered little or no choice but to accept other pronunciation models due largely to the emphasis on native-speaker norms in the curriculum and their limited exposure to spoken English, and therefore accent variation, in their everyday lives. The article concludes by discussing the implications of this lack of local acceptance for the choice of an appropriate pronunciation model, ELT curriculum and materials design and directions for future research.

Keywords: Language attitudes, Hong Kong English, varieties of English, accent variation, native-speaker norms, pronunciation model, endonormative nativised model