A Variety of English Accents Used in Teaching Materials Targeting Japanese Learners

Junko Sugimoto, Yoko Uchida


The present study analyzes the audio materials that accompany six government-approved textbooks for Japanese junior high school students to determine the variety of English accents used and to discuss the choice of pronunciation and listening models for Japanese learners. Despite the fact that the textbooks introduce various characters, not only from the Inner Circle but also from the Outer and Expanding Circles, a small-scale accent identification experiment reveals discrepancy between the textbook characters’ descriptions and their accents. In other words, the diversity of English speakers is reflected in the content of the textbooks, but not in their audio materials. Although pronunciation and listening models are not specified in the Course of Study (i.e., the government’s curriculum guidelines), the North American accent is observed to be predominant. Apart from the teachers’ pronunciation, textbook audio materials are the primary source for listening study in classrooms. Although careful attention is required when choosing pronunciation and listening models for students, teachers must also be aware of the importance of exposing students to a variety of accents, both to enhance students’ awareness of English diversity and to build their confidence as English speakers.


 DOI: 10.21437/ISAPh.2016-9

Cite as: Sugimoto, J., Uchida, Y. (2016) A Variety of English Accents Used in Teaching Materials Targeting Japanese Learners. Proc. ISAPh 2016 International Symposium on Applied Phonetics, 43-47, DOI: 10.21437/ISAPh.2016-9.


@inproceedings{Sugimoto2016,
  author={Junko Sugimoto and Yoko Uchida},
  title={A Variety of English Accents Used in Teaching Materials Targeting Japanese Learners},
  year=2016,
  booktitle={Proc. ISAPh 2016 International Symposium on Applied Phonetics},
  pages={43--47},
  doi={10.21437/ISAPh.2016-9},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/ISAPh.2016-9}
}