American English, Indian English, and Nigerian English: Comparison of English Accents on Three Continents

Date:  2021-10-01 01:55:55
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Background of the Study

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America, India, and Nigeria are on the top list of countries with most English speakers among others. English seems to exist across the three continents and it is commonly referred to as "standard English". CITATION Bec17 \l 1033 (Bieswanger, 2017). However, the spoken form of English in the three continents varies considerably in the terms of prevailing accents in the respective societal setting. According to sociolinguistics, the manner of pronunciation atypical to a specific individual, state or a given geographical location is known as an accent. The English spoken in these states have various dialects within themselves for instance; American English has regional dialects that archetypally reflect some elements of the main immigrants in a specific region CITATION Wol15 \l 1033 (Schilling, 2015). Indians English is very different from American English since the Indians were colonized by England and adopted British English. Not only difference in the phonology but also an accent, since the Indian intrinsic languages are essentially syllable-timed, like French. Most of Indian English speakers speak with a syllabic rhythm hence they accentuate all the syllables of long words in English or place stress accent at the wrong syllables (Pande, 2017). The Nigerian English is also different from the other two in pronunciation and intentional grammatical errors they commit to suit their cultural and social environment (Pande, 2017).

In essence, there has been the variation of English syllables by the Nigerian as well as the American English. Depending on the speakers, stress is often diagnosed in a different manner altogether. It is clear that there is a division between languages where stress is often predictable especially from phonological properties such as the location as well as the shape together with those it varies acting as a function of morphology or rather lexical items (Gordon, 2016). While the Nigerians stress various syllables differently compared to the Americans, phonological predictable stress techniques differ depending on their sensitivity that lies in the internal structure of the syllables.

The accent of an individual may be influenced by several factors such as the locality the speaker resides, the influence of the speakers first language or the socio-economic status of the speaker. The locality or region of residence of the speaker will make the speaker have a regional or geographical accent while the social class of a speaker gives rise to a social accent. The people living in Asia will absolutely have a different accent from the people living in America. Also, there is a difference in the accent of people living in Uptown and those living in downtown. The neighborhoods people live are mostly dictated by socio-economic factors; therefore, such accent rising due to the social status of the speaker is commonly referred to as social accents. The first language of the speaker will definitely lead to an ethnic accent when the individual learns a new language such as English.

Statement of the Problem

Everyone has an accent and the accent we have is influenced by several interrelated factors. For so long, English speakers from America, India, and Africa have had a distinctive difference in the way they pronounce English words and this to some extent has created communication barriers. The key purpose of any language, English included, is communication and if accent hinders communication between people from different geographical regions then it should raise concerns to linguistic professionals. This necessitates a research on the probable factors influencing English accent in America, India, and Nigeria ,these countries were chosen to represent America, Asia, and Africa continent respectively.

Objectives

This study aims to determine the difference in regional accent among American English, Indian English and Nigerian English. In order to comprehensively analyze and identify the disparities in the accent, the research will involve an interview of 12 participants of different age and gender. The four participants from each state will be randomly selected across the entire region. The researcher will seek to clarify the following questions as a guideline framework for the research;

Is there an existing phonological and sociolinguistic difference among American English, Indian English, and Nigerian English?

What is the intonation difference American English, Indian English, and Nigerian English

Do any lexical differences exist among American English, Indian English, and Nigerian English?

Acton Accents characteristically difference in feature of the voice, pronunciation, and distinction of vowels and consonants, stress, and prosody.

Significance of the Study

I hope that this thesis enriches the study of sociolinguistics that can be used for further reference, especially for the purpose to explain and understand linguistic variations and diversity in communities that differ socially and geographically. The study will reveal the sociolinguistic differences caused by geographical difference or locality of the speaker. Understanding the accent disparities among the three continents will help in explaining the role played by region or locality in shaping the accent of an individual.

Scope and Limitation

The research is going to rely on a video analysis of the participants selected from the various regions. The participants should be selected randomly from the given state and preferably be of different gender, age, and social class. The participants should all be subjected to pronounce a specific set of words and their video recorded for further analysis. The pronunciation will then be analyzed comprehensively to identify the speech effects, tone, and stress of the various speakers.

Previous Studies

The study of accent difference has been an area of interest in sociolinguistics and a number of studies have been published shading more light on the topic. These publications include Introduction to English Linguistics by Binswanger and published recently in 2017, Phonetic convergence towards American English by Indian agents in international service encounters published by Pande also in 2017and American English: dialects and variations published in 2015 by Schilling. These studies have touched on the disparities in accent among various English speaking individuals. Other studies have been posted in educational youtube channels such as the video contained in the link below-showing pronunciation differences.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=13&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiZ0J3L15bZAhVSa8AKHQ_QB70QtwIIYzAM&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D2nAnT3PASak&usg=AOvVaw2k7o9oMM9Lw-g25PKcVR7i

Theoretical Framework

There is obviously a difference between accent and dialect and the two should not be confused. A dialect can be spoken in different accents because accent is mainly concerned with the uniqueness in pronunciation of an individual. This research is mainly going to analyze the difference in accent irrespective of the English dialect of the speakers.

Research Methodology

In order to measure those differences in accents among the English spoken in three continents, numbers of some common English words that are pronounced in the regions would be analyzed.

The Mixed-effect regression can be used to measure the difference phonology variances among the three accents. A mixed-effect analysis is conducted to evaluate the influence of various predictors on the computed Native alignment. Through Akaike Information Criterion (AIC) the optimal mode is determined and the accents are differentiated. The sociolinguistic difference can be measured by studying and analyzing the speech rate, pause or intonation of the speakers in the three different continents.

Mixed effect analysis pdf link

https://www.gla.ac.uk/media/media_200329_en.pdf

Alkaike Information Criterion analysis pdf link

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=6&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwilgfvY3ZbZAhWlAcAKHTAkB8wQFghWMAU&url=https%3A%2F%2Fweb.stanford.edu%2Fclass%2Fcs221%2F2017%2Frestricted%2Fp-final%2Fboweima%2Ffinal.pdf&usg=AOvVaw3IMpytcNGQlZjUrzqKmS27

The online media, such as YouTube can be used to benchmark the disparities. For instance, how news anchors from media houses across these continents can clearly show differences in the way they read news in English. The places they put stress on English words and the tone will be definitely among the participants.

Data Analysis

The data that will be obtained will be analyzed through the Mixed-effect regression which is then used to measure the difference phonology variances among the three accents. A mixed-effect analysis is conducted to evaluate the influence of various predictors on the computed Native alignment. The analysis of the data will be based on a qualitative data analysis using interviews as well as the questionnaires. In essence, the data analysis of this project will use common pattern within the English speaking country in America, India, and Nigerian. All data are set to be analyzed depending on the responses as it focuses on achieving research objectives, and aims.

References

BIBLIOGRAPHY \l 1033 Bieswanger, B. &. (2017). Introduction to English Linguistics. London: Springer .

Gordon, M. (2016). Disentangling stress and pich-accent : a typology of prominence at different prosodic levels. London: Word Press.

Pande, C. &. (2017). Phonetic convergence towards American English by Indian agents in international service encounters. New York: English World-Wide .

Schilling, W. 7. (2015). American English: dielects and variations. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

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