“I Speak How I Speak:” A Discussion of Accent and Identity Within Teachers of ELT

  • Alex Baratta
Part of the Educational Linguistics book series (EDUL, volume 35)


This discussion approaches the subject of English language teaching (ELT) from a linguistic point of view, asking the question ‘what kind of accent(s) is privileged within the field of ELT?’ Arguably, British and American accents have historically been the ‘norm,’ and represented mostly by Received Pronunciation and General American within the field of ELT. Where do native speakers of English fit, however, if normally speaking with less common accents (from the ELT perspective), such as those deriving from New York City or Glasgow? The need to be fully understood by one’s students is not being ignored, and it is conceded that some accents can be harder to understand than others (even amongst native speakers of English). Nonetheless, the linguistic reality for English language learners is that there are a multitude of accents to contend with amongst native speakers of English, and very often they do not conform to the suggested ‘one size fits all’ approach that is sometimes displayed within English language teachers’ accents, based on the relevant literature, personal anecdotes and the experiences of an English as a second language (ESL) teacher with an accent deemed ‘inappropriate’ for her profession. While we would hope for more inclusivity amongst modern English language teachers in terms of race, sex and ‘NEST’ vs. ‘NNEST’, what might the linguistic reality be for ELT in terms of teachers’ accents?


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Manchester Institute of EducationThe University of ManchesterManchesterUK

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