“The tutor never asked me questions”: Pronunciation and student positioning at university


  • Shem Macdonald Victoria University


pronunciation, communication, English as an additional language, EAL, English as a second language, ESL, speaking, higher education


A student who speaks English as an additional language believes that her tutor is not asking her questions during the tutorial discussion because “he’s worried I won’t understand him or he won’t understand me”. Being spared the embarrassment of this potential confusion is a good thing, but in the long term, this student is missing out on opportunities to participate and practise her speaking and pronunciation in this class. Being positioned as someone not to be called on to interact in class can have a negative impact on learners. What can Academic Language and Learning educators say and do to assist students and tutors in these kinds of situations to overcome the embarrassment associated with needing to negotiate meaning when speaking with an accent? This paper describes strategies used to address these issues with university students who use English as their additional language and puts forward a model for understanding pronunciation and its role in speaker identity formulation. Theory underpinning this model is based on sociolinguistic work on speaker identities as formulated through spoken interactions (Bucholtz & Hall, 2005).




How to Cite

Macdonald, S. (2015). “The tutor never asked me questions”: Pronunciation and student positioning at university. Journal of Academic Language and Learning, 9(1), A31-A41. Retrieved from https://journal.aall.org.au/index.php/jall/article/view/365