Korean Adults' Attitudes towards Varieties of English
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Kim, Young Soo
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This study investigates 43 Korean adults’ attitudes towards native and non-native varieties of English in relation to the perspective of EIL (English as an international language). This study addresses three research questions: 1) do Korean adults prefer certain varieties of English? 2) do Korean adults at least accept non-native varieties of English?, and 3) are Korean adults aware of different varieties of English? In order to examine participants’ language attitudes, this study employed both a verbal guise test as an indirect approach and a qualitative questionnaire as a direct approach. For the verbal guise test, six varieties of English were selected to measure participants’ perceptions of native and non-native varieties of English based on Kachru’s (1985) circles of English use: American and British English in the inner circle, Hong Kong and Indian English in the outer circle, and Korean and Taiwanese-accented English in the expanding circle. The main findings present important insights into Korean adults’ perspectives on EIL: 1) they preferred American English as a model for guidance and did not discriminate native and non-native varieties of English, 2) they regarded English as an international language to communicate not only with native speakers but also with non-native speakers of English, and showed positive attitudes to non-native varieties of English, and 3) they were not well aware of varieties of English. This finding implies that English language teaching in Korea should emphasize learners’ awareness of varieties of English in order that they can command EIL without difficulty. This study suggests that further comprehensive investigations into changes in Koreans’ language attitudes and their needs as L2 learners be made because they should be reflected in English language teaching which has emphasized EFL rather than EIL.