Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Language, Literature, Culture and Education 2016

A Discusson of the Accents Found in the Use of English Among Malay Undergraduates

Anaztasia Natasha Muhamad Ramlan, Afifah Fadhlullah

Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM)


Past studies on listeners’ attitudinal judgment on speakers’ different degrees of accentedness in speech have been of interest to researchers in many disciplines (Sally, 2011; Frumkin, 2007; Nair, 2005; Dixon and Mahoney, 2004; Dixon, Mahoney, Cocks, 2002). However, less work has been done on accented English in the Malaysian context. Malaysians have a version of English that differ in terms of Received Pronunciation (RP) which is Malaysian English or Manglish. The use of Manglish differs depending on regional and cultural variety which comprises of different races. A standardized version of English still exists in Malaysia mostly used for official matters. However, some parts of Manglish uttered by Malaysians leave a more marked accent, taken from our mother tongue to the target language. This research investigates the accents found in the use of English among Malay undergraduates in a public university. Thirty final semester students from various Human Sciences undergraduate programmes were selected from three sections of English classes. Their readings of a simplified text were audio-taped to gather the different degrees of accentedness before being graded by five language experts based on an impressionistic assessment on a seven-point scale ranging from ‘7’ being the most marked Malay accent and ‘1’ being the least unmarked Malay accent. Rankings for the 30 speech sample were obtained from the five language experts. The findings of this research indicate that the students’ years of exposure to learning and using English does not necessarily have an effect on students’ accent, gender, hometown, and location.


accent, accentedness, Malay undergraduates, public university, English

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