Exploring the Accent Mix Perceptually and Automatically: French Learners of English and the RP–GA Divide


Acquiring a consistent accent and targeting a native-standard-like Received Pronunciation (RP) or General American (GA) are prerequisites for French learners who plan to become English teachers in France. Reliable methods to assess learners’ productions are therefore extremely valuable. We recorded a little over 300 students from our English Studies department and performed auditory analysis to investigate their accents and determine how close to native models their productions were. Inter-rater comparisons were carried out; they revealed overall good agreement scores which, however, varied across phonetic cues. Then, automatic speech recognition (ASR) and automatic accent identification (AID) were applied to the data. We provide exploratory interpretations of the ASR outputs, and show to what extent they agree with and complement our auditory ratings. AID turns out to be very consistent with our perception, and both types of measurements show that two thirds of our students favour an American, and the remaining third, a British pronunciation, although most of them have mixed features from the two accents.