Characteristics of speaker models for Japanese university students

Kenta Yamanouchi
Nagoya Gakuin University
Keywords: English as an international language, native speaker of English, nonnative speaker of English, language model, speaker model, English education in Japan


In the research area of English as an international language, there are numerous studies about appropriate language norms and language models, but few investigations of attitudes about people whom students consider models as speakers of English (henceforth, speaker models). And, most studies of speaker models dealt with the linguistic characteristics of the speaker models. To extend this research, the present study investigated students’ attitudes about what characteristics led students to see someone as a speaker model. Nine Japanese university students participated in semistructured interviews, and their comments were analyzed. Results show that although the participants were learning English as a foreign language and their goals for learning English were to achieve native-like competence, they mainly had Japanese teachers of English in mind as speaker models. Although it is not necessary to have native-like English in order to be seen as a speaker model, it is necessary for students to observe the speaker model using English for communicative purposes. These findings suggest that further studies need to investigate characteristics of speaker models without limiting their scope to accent and grammar, and need to investigate what other non-linguistic characteristics are important for speaker models.