The topic is interesting. However, the design of the study should be more sophisticated and coherent in order to product valid outcomes. I would like to provide with the following comments for each section.
Research topic: From Methodology, I understand that you are going to interview foreign students for the study. So, it is not adequate to use ‘Hong Kong student’ on the topic. If the target participants are overseas students who study in the universities in Hong Kong, you should make it clear.
Objectives: I cannot tell the major difference between attitude in the first objective and ‘feel’ in the second. If they mean the similar issues, you can just have one objective.
Introduction: You need to provide background information to tell readers why you are interested in investigate their attitudes towards AASE. Do they have chance to communicate with AASE speakers in the Hong Kong context or they often come across AASE speakers from their home counties?
Literature review: You need to do some review on attitudes towards AASE in the literature and identify research gap.
For Methodology and Discussion part, as this is just the proposal no the report. Please amend your content to sound more like a proposal, rather that a report.
You should specify the criteria for selecting interviewees in the subsection Participants. That is, if you intend to find overseas students who are familiar with AASE through people, film and literature, you should include it in this subsection.
Group Project Proposal
The Attitude of Hong Kong Students Towards African American Standard English
African American Standard English
To explore the attitude of Hong Kong students towards African American Standard English.
To examine how Hong Kong students feel about African American Standard English speakers.
Perceptions towards English variations have long been the subject of linguistic and cultural study. Since the 1940s, language attitude study has shown that language is a potent social force capable of much more than conveying the intended message (Biber & Conrad, 2014). In many cases, listeners interpret paralinguistic and linguistic variance in communications as indicators of the speaker’s individual and interpersonal traits. For instance, an outsider may be deemed unintelligent due to their sluggish speaking pace. Due to the fact that such ideas about language usage may influence social interactions, language attitudes are significant communication concepts worth studying (Bohmann, 2019). While perceptions regarding African American standard American English have been examined in a multitude of countries around the globe, no research has been conducted to analyze attitudes toward it among Hong Kong students. This paper examines the attitudes of Hong Kong students toward African American Standard English.
Attitudes are and remain a major topic of study across human research. More than any intellectual pursuit, Attitude has been a fundamental analytic determinant in the sector of cognitive psychology (Maio & Verplanken, 2018). For many years, the research on language perceptions has been a focal point of linguistic analysis since the investigation into attitudes about English and its variety gives invaluable insight into the preservation, expansion, resurgence, and decline of various Forms of English (Amin, 2020). According to Bell (2013), language attitudes are judgments made by individuals regarding the relative worth of a specific language. Dragojevic (2017) observes that linguistic perceptions might be construed as an emotional, intellectual, or cognitive indicator of critical responses to various language types or individuals.
African American Standard English (AASE) is a collection of English sociolects spoken by the proportion of black individuals in the United States; it most frequently refers to a linguistic continuum that ranges from African American Vernacular English to much more standard American English (Hendricks & Diehm, 2020). As with other popular languages, African American English varies in terms of vernacular against standard forms, rural compared with urban features, stylistic variance, geographical difference, and age-graded difference (Blodgett & O’Connor, 2016). According to Wesley (2012), attitudes regarding languages comprise prejudices against social variants of languages and affiliative attitudes toward one’s personal or other organizations’ speech conventions and preconceptions of speech patterns within linguistic and cultural groups. In contrast to previous concepts of language attitudes, Wesley’s (2012) definition clearly mentions regional and social variants of English, which fits the purpose of this research, which concentrates on Hong Kong students’ perceptions of English varieties of various social backgrounds.
Since the 1960s, a range of strategies and methods have been used in linguistic attitude investigation. These strategies and procedures are often classified into three major categories: direct treatment approaches, social therapy, and indirect treatment approaches (Su & Hunston, 2019). Focus groups were used to collect data for the qualitative methodology section of the research. A focus group is a group study with a limited number of persons who have comparable demographic characteristics or backgrounds. Their responses to particular queries provided by the researcher are analyzed.
Focus group discussions were employed in the research. Two focus groups of students were conducted; one graduate and one undergraduate. These focus group sessions lasted between twenty and thirty minutes. The student’s focus groups included twelve foreign students. Scholars from Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa attended, with majors ranging from finance to engineering to applied linguistics and political science.
Design of Study
First, a brief set of questions on students’ attitudes toward African American Standard English was compiled, although participants were encouraged to share whatever they deemed pertinent. The following questions were posed to students: “What are some of the special challenges you have encountered when engaging with individuals who speak African American Standard English?” and “Does your attitude toward the English language impact your view of the speakers?” The primary moderator sought explanations throughout the research and facilitated dialogue amongst the participants.
The focus groups were audio-recorded and comprehensive notes were taken. Recordings and notes were listened to and expanded separately during every focus group session. Hence, the note-expansion technique was used, in which the assessor listens to the recording in order to clarify specific aspects or to ensure that all major points are covered in the recordings. The notes were then analyzed inductively for the main topics mentioned, and the themes were tagged and classified.
First, the majority of student respondents stated that they are familiar with African American Standard English and have interacted with it through people, films, and literature. The student and graduate focus groups’ responses focused on three main themes: listening, culture, and reading.
Both groups reported having difficulty listening to African American Standard English. As reasons for the challenges, the speaker’s pace of speech, the word structure, and the participants’ attitude toward the speakers were given. One graduate student commented on his experience listening to the AASE, stating that “even though I am completely capable of comprehending speech in an unfamiliar accent, I frequently find the words said to be less trustworthy.”
Students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels expressed discomfort with lengthy readings and problems understanding African American Standard English material. They found their reading to be slower, and they viewed extended reading of the AASE to be an unfamiliar form of reading activity. “Strategies taught in the setting of Standard English do not instantly apply to AASE,” one undergraduate student observed.
Both undergraduate and graduate students highlighted what one graduate student referred to as cultural tolerance throughout the session. Stereotyping based on speech may be an extremely subtle kind of racism since individuals are unaware of the extent to which cultural preconceptions and beliefs shape their opinions on speech. Individuals may attribute negative attitudes toward a communicator to understanding difficulties instead of racial intolerance.
The research examined students’ opinions towards African American Standard English via focus group interviews. While the two groups’ perspectives coincided to some level, each group still had distinct reservations. Both focused groups engaged in an extensive discussion regarding culture, listening, and reading throughout the research. However, each group provided information that was distinct. For instance, one group highlighted their problems comprehending the AASE and their bias against the speakers.
As previously stated, academics investigating the social context of language attitude have done so extensively. They demonstrate how people’s speech assessment processes are inextricably linked to both ideological views and referential meanings in a culture (Deliana & Raswiy, 2017). However, this piece of research has been critiqued from a social psychology standpoint for its seeming disrespect for a person’s dispositional conceptions upon which his or her cognitive functioning may be based (Bell, 2017). Therefore, future research may proceed to provide a detailed insight into Hong Kong students’ attitudes on African American Standard English. Multiple regression analysis should be used to determine the elements that influence students’ attitudes regarding the AASE.
Amin, A. (2020). Attitude Towards Language in Sociolinguistics Settings: A Brief Overview. REiLA: Journal of Research and Innovation in Language, 2(1), 27-30.
Biber, D., & Conrad, S. (2014). Variation in English: Multi-dimensional studies. Routledge.
Bohmann, A. (2019). Variation in English worldwide: Registers and global varieties. Cambridge University Press.
Bell, J. (2013). Language attitudes and language revival/survival. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 34(4), 399-410.
Blodgett, S. L. & O’Connor, B. (2016). Demographic dialectal variation in social media: A case study of African-American English. arXiv preprint arXiv:1608.08868.
Dragojevic, M. (2017). Language attitudes. In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication.
Deliana, D., & Raswiy, N. (2017). Language attitude and choice by Minangkabau community: A Sociolinguistic study in Medan. Bahasa dan Seni: Jurnal Bahasa, Sastra, Seni, dan Pengajarannya, 45(1), 76-85.
Hendricks, A. E., & Diehm, E. A. (2020). Survey of assessment and intervention practices for students who speak African American English. Journal of Communication Disorders, 83, 105967.
Maio, G. R. & Verplanken, B. (2018). The psychology of attitudes and attitude change. Sage.
Su, H., & Hunston, S. (2019). Language patterns and ATTITUDE revisited: Adjective patterns, Attitude, and Appraisal. Functions of Language, 26(3), 343-371.
Wesely, P. M. (2012). Learner attitudes, perceptions, and beliefs in language learning. Foreign Language Annals, 45(s1), s98-s117.
Focus Group Questions
To begin, participants were instructed via spoken English to respond to questions using Standard English.
In what language do you speak most often?
When you hear a person speaking African American Standard English and another speaking Standard English, which person do you think is more intelligent?
What are some of the particular challenges you have encountered when engaging with individuals who speak African American Standard English?
Does your attitude toward the English language impact your view of the speakers?