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Institut Suprieur des langues de Tunis

Describing the Tunisian variety of English: An EFL between British, American and Tunisian English.

Submitted by:

Supervised by:

Yosra Selmi

Prof. Salem Ghazali

Overview

Introduction (scope, rationale and objectives of the study) Literature review (main themes) Hypotheses Methodology (sampling and instruments) Main results Conclusion

Introduction
Describing the Tunisian variety of English: An EFL between British, American and Tunisian English. Scope Experimental sociolinguistics (the study of language variation) Rationale Tunisian variety of English needs further investigation. Tunisia as an EFL context represents an interesting area of research.

Objectives To describe the Tunisian Variety of English and identify its characteristics and accent features To determine which of the reference varieties is commonly used among Tunisian MA students of English To identify if there is a relationship between exposure to reference varieties of English and the variety that these students produce

1.

2.

3.

Literature review

English as a global language: English or Englishes? Reference varieties of English as models in teaching EFL Differences between BrSE and AmSE (accent, spelling and vocabulary)

The role of exposure and transfer in developing a foreign accent in an EFL context
Tunisia as an EFL context: a complex linguistic situation

Research hypotheses
1.

Tunisian MA students of English are likely to have developed a mixture of AmSE and BrSE. The variety of English exhibited by them is likely to be dominated by AmSE. Some of them may have developed a distinct accent of English marked by some features of the Tunisian Arabic accent. The variety of English produced by the participants may be dominated by the variety they are mostly exposed to.

2.

3.

4.

Method
Convenience sampling
60 Tunisian masters students of English Males and females

Aged from 23 to 25

Neither of their parents are native speakers of English

The students were also selected in relation to their teacher origin. 20 were taught English by a British teacher for at least one semester

60 Tunisian masters students of English

20 were taught English by an American teacher for at least one semester

20 were taught English by a Tunisian teacher

Instruments (p.94-100)

A reading aloud test To identify accent


1.
2. 3.

A dictation test To identify the spelling variety

A translation test To identify the lexical choice Exposure questionnaire To measure exposure to reference varieties of English.
4.

The data collected were analysed through SPSS 16.0 yielding the following results.

Results
All of the participants used both BrSE and AmSE in the three tests, which validates the first hypothesis. A common tendency to use AmSE over BrSE was found among the subjects responses, which is coherent with the second hypothesis of the study. The use of BrSE and AmSE among the sample

Accent

Spelling

Vocabulary

British

American

Tunisian

British

American

British

American

35.6%

60%

4.6%

47%

53%

41.5%

58.5%

English accents of the sample cross-tabulated by variable

Tunisian, t Tunisian, quality, 0% Tunisian, r word stress, American, t quality, 9.5% 9% American, quality, 33.5% word stress, American, r 49% quality, 66.5% British, t quality, 66.5% British, word British, r stress, 42% quality, 20.5%

Tunisian, vowels, 0% Tunisian American, vowels, 86% American British British, vowels, 14%

[r] was trilled (as in Tunisian Arabic) in 9.5% of the cases.

Tunisian stress pattern was applied on English words in 9% of the cases confirming the third hypothesis.

Accent, spelling and vocabulary results in relation to teacher origin


Accent British British teacher 43% 53% 4% 49% 51% 22% 40.5% American Tunisian Spelling British American Vocabulary British American

group

American teacher group Tunisian teacher group

35%

61%

4%

44%

56%

29%

39%

34%

61%

5%

48%

52%

30%

41%

The highest rates of British and American accents and spellings are associated consecutively to the British and American teacher groups.

Conclusion

The study is an attempt to describe the Tunisian variety of English and define some of its features.

The informants developed a repertoire of varieties consisting of British and American English as well as some features of Tunisian Arabic accent. A common trait among the participants was their predominant use of the American variety. The obtained varieties of English were found to be partly related to formal and informal exposures to the British and American varieties of English.

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