Date of Award

5-2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

First Advisor

Sharon K. Deckert, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

David I. Hanauer, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Gloria Park, Ph.D.

Abstract

This qualitative study aims to attain a practical understanding of L2 English speakers' perceptions and understanding of their own English accents and to explore the relationship between their perceptions of accents and their perceived social identities. Data were collected through interviews with 14 participants. The individual analysis on each participant was reported as a form of narrative. The group analysis across all the participants' narratives demonstrated the complexity of their perceptions and understanding of accents, and the complex and context-dependent nature of the relationship between accents and perceived social identities. Five themes that respond to the research questions emerged from the results and findings. From the discussion of the themes, a heuristic model of identity construction was developed. The model is grounded in three cases of the participants as an explanatory tool for identity construction. The study provides pedagogical implications for language teachers, and provides some suggestions for future research.

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