Accent and identity : exploring the perceptions among bilingual speakers of English as a lingua franca in Hong Kong

Chit Cheung Matthew SUNG

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

22 Citations (Scopus)


This paper reports on a study that investigated the perceptions of a group of bilingual speakers of English and Chinese in Hong Kong concerning issues surrounding accent, identity and English as a lingua franca (ELF). Data were primarily collected via in-depth interviews with 28 university students in Hong Kong who are also regular users of English in lingua franca contexts. The analysis shows that the participants' perceptions of their preferred identities as speakers of English in ELF settings in relation to accent were varied and complex. Among the participants who preferred to use a local accent of English, their preference was not necessarily motivated by the need for expressing their lingua-cultural identity, but primarily by pragmatic considerations. It was also found that some participants' desire to speak English with a native-like accent was associated with their wish to present a positive identity or self-image as bilingual speakers of English. The paper calls for the need to recognize the role of individual variations in accent preferences for identity construction in ELF.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)544-557
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism
Issue number5
Early online date2 Oct 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2014



  • accent
  • identity
  • perceptions
  • bilingual speakers
  • Hong Kong
  • English as a lingua franca

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