- Understanding a particular accent is predominantly a question of familiarity with speakers who have that accent. No single accent is inherently more or less intelligible than another.*
- Learners are very likely to encounter a range of accents of English in the world, because it is used widely as a lingua franca between speakers who choose English as their language of communication, often because they have no other option. This means it is unrealistic and unhelpful to focus on using or understanding only one or two (native) accents of English in the classroom.
- Learners’ familiarity with a range of accents can be developed through a simple 5-step lesson structure, which was demonstrated in this webinar.
There is more detail about this 5-step lesson plan in another blog post which Laura recently wrote on this topic.
You can now watch the recording of this webinar on YouTube, and it is also embedded below (visible on some devices):
*If you’re interested in reading research which investigates the relationships between ‘strength’ of accent, intelligibility and comprehensibility, check out the work of Tracey Derwing and Murray Munro. Their 2009 article “Putting accent in its place” [open access link] is a good one to start with.