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Divided by a common language: A comparative study of preferences for, and use of, American and British English vocabulary among students in Swedish upper secondary and tertiary education
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Languages. Linnaeus University.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This comparative study aims to discover and demonstrate the potential division in preferences for, and use of, AmE and BrE vocabulary by examining the possible influence of variety shift, motivation, gender, and language contact among 181 EFL students in one upper secondary school and one university in Sweden. Accordingly, the material, a questionnaire, was distributed to probe the preferences and potential inclination factors through solicitation of background information and personal attitudes towards English. Additionally, through a selection process within the questionnaire, to determine the division in actual variety use, the respondents chose between 30 variety-dependent synonyms randomly divided into two separate columns. The results demonstrate a self-reported preference for AmE among upper secondary students, which seems to derive from its high frequency of use, and a preference for BrE among students in tertiary education, due to the more appealing sound of pronunciation and the status which it is believed to signal. Additionally, intrinsic motivation is shown to be more frequent among students who prefer BrE. The differences in variety use are, despite some minor connection to variety shift, essentially identical regardless of variety preference, motivation, EFL level and student gender, with AmE being used most frequently. However, none of the respondents used exclusively one variety without alternating between the two in at least one instance, but the extent of inclination seemed to depend on the variety with which one had had the longest contact.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 27 p.
Keyword [en]
American English, British English, EFL, variety preference, variety use
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-50400OAI: diva2:910356
Subject / course
Educational program
Teacher Education Programme for Upper Secondary School, 300/330 credits
2016-02-25, Platon, Universitetsplatsen 1, Växjö, 13:15 (English)
Available from: 2016-06-01 Created: 2016-03-08 Last updated: 2016-06-01Bibliographically approved

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General Language Studies and Linguistics

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