Factors Influencing Foreign Accent in EFL Speech

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  • Title: Factors Influencing Foreign Accent in EFL Speech
  • Author(s): Huei-Chun Teng
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: The Learner
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Learning: Annual Review
  • Keywords: Foreign Accent, EFL Speech, Speaker Factors
  • Volume: 17
  • Issue: 5
  • Year: 2010
  • ISSN: 1447-9494 (Print)
  • ISSN: 1447-9540 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/1447-9494/CGP/v17i05/47062
  • Citation: Teng, Huei-Chun. 2010. "Factors Influencing Foreign Accent in EFL Speech." The International Journal of Learning: Annual Review 17 (5): 559-574. doi:10.18848/1447-9494/CGP/v17i05/47062.
  • Extent: 16 pages


The purpose of the present study is to investigate the factors which affect the perceived degree of foreign accent in the EFL sentences produced by Taiwanese college students. The major research questions include: (1) Is there any significant relationship between foreign accent and individual speaker factor? (2) What are native English speakers’ perceptions of foreign accent? The speech samples used in the present study were elicited from 60 college students in Taiwan. A group of six raters were native speakers of American English and have taught EFL in Taiwan for at least one year. Materials were a list of five specially prepared sentences and a 111-word English story. The main instrument adopted in the study was a questionnaire of 17 items designed to assess the speaker factors affecting foreign accent. Results show that three factors were found to be significant predictors of perceived foreign accent, including participants’ major, participants’ oral mimicry ability, and percent of time to use English at home. The current study can contribute to the understanding of the factors influencing foreign accent, and offer some implications for EFL speech instruction.