English - Elective Subject, topic 3: Global English: Accents, Intelligibility and Comprehensibility

Course content

The course is concerned with the historical factors that contributed to the spread of English and the development of its different varieties, as well as the relationship between accent, intelligibility, and comprehensibility when using English for international communication.


The course has two main strands, as described below. Both strands focus on the linguistic variation of English, based on research related to historical and structural linguistics, applied linguistics, and Global Englishes. The focus in both strands is firmly on theoretical and applied linguistics with special attention to the description and analysis of matters pertaining to pronunciation. For that reason, the course is particularly suited for students who enjoyed the obligatory course in Phonetics in the second semester.


A: Postcolonial accents of English (Jesper Kruse)

This strand investigates the relationship between British (and, to a lesser extent, American) colonialism and the rise of English as a global language. We shall examine ways in which the history of British colonialism may help to explain structural differences and similarities between various varieties of English, and we will begin by looking at those varieties of English that became established in the New World from the seventeenth century onwards (North America, the Caribbean). We will then proceed to consider those varieties of English that emerged in the southern hemisphere as a result of British settlements during the nineteenth century (Australia, New Zealand, South Africa), but also those areas that were not subject to large settlements but which nonetheless, for a variety of reasons, have adopted English as an important second language (central Africa, South-East Asia, the Pacific). Finally, we will consider the ways in which such “postcolonial” accents of English have affected Inner Circle Englishes, particularly in London.


B: Accents, intelligibility, and comprehensibility (Slobodanka Dimova)

This strand focuses on the relationship between accent, intelligibility, and comprehensibility in communicative settings that involve speakers of different varieties of English. We will discuss factors that affect speech intelligibility and comprehensibility from both speaker and listener perspective. Some of the factors we examine will be accent familiarity, linguistic features of native and non-native accents that contribute to speech intelligibility and comprehensibility, as well as factors pertaining to international and intercultural communicative settings (e.g., international workplace, internationalized universities).



Classes, with particular emphasis on reading primary and secondary texts, group exercises, oral discussion and developing proficiency in English.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
Type of assessment
Criteria for exam assessment

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 84
  • Preparation
  • 325,5
  • English
  • 409,5


Course number
Programme level

1 semester


Dette er et kursus via tompladsordningen mod betaling på Åbent Universitet. Tilmeld dig og se aktuel prisoversigt på denne side.

See link to schedule
If there are more registrations than places, the places are allocated by random draw.
Study board of English, Germanic and Romance Studies
Contracting department
  • Department of English, Germanic and Romance Studies
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinators
  • Jesper Kruse   (6-6f70777a786a456d7a7233707a336970)
  • Slobodanka Dimova   (17-766f7265726764716e6431676c70727964436b7870316e7831676e)
Saved on the 02-11-2023

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