Journal of
Languages and Culture

  • Abbreviation: J. Lang. Cult.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-6540
  • DOI: 10.5897/JLC
  • Start Year: 2010
  • Published Articles: 130


The identity and L2 accent from an EIL angle

  Mohammad Momenian
  Tarbiat Modares University Tehran, Iran  
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 29 October 2010
  •  Published: 31 January 2011



The relationship between identity and pronunciation has been adequately researched from a wide variety of political, social and linguistic perspectives. Pronunciation, in a narrower sense accent, is proclaimed one of the prime determinants of identity construction and L2 learners, intentionally or not, manipulate it either to diverge from or converge towards the target speech communities. There are some material and symbolic resources, available in target speech communities, which L2 learners may aspire to get access to, this time through manipulating their pronunciation to seem more native-like. Meanwhile the idea of acquiring a native-like accent no longer seems justifiable enough in an international context where there is no native speaker or community to approximate to. Therefore, the present study argues against the still current pedagogical notion among English teachers that L2 learners should get native-like fluency in pronunciation. To illustrate the relationship between the two concepts, the argument is approached from a pronunciation pedagogy perspective. So far as pronunciation teaching is concerned there are two main principles, on pronunciation teaching, in ELT: the nativeness principle and the intelligibility principle. The author sides with the latter against the former and argues that intelligibility principle can be considered one of the best possible solutions arrived for those who aspire to learn English as an additional language, but are afraid of losing their identities. Since the nativeness principle makes an implied promise which is reducing their first language accents, hence the loss of their first languages and identities. Equally clearly, the study might have profound political and pedagogical implications for the teachers, materials writers and even the students themselves.


Key words: Identity, L2 pronunciation, pronunciation pedagogy, nativeness principle, Intelligibility principle.