Questioning the Position of SBS as the Model Variety for Serbian EFL Students


  • Nina Đukić



language attitudes, standard English varieties, Serbian EFL speakers, GA, SBS, Australian English


This paper primarily investigates the attitude of Serbian EFL students, in their 4th and 5th year of university studies, towards the Southern British Standard variety of English, as well as its position in comparison with General American (GA) and Standard Australian English. The aim of this study is to determine whether SBS still remains the preferred model variety in Serbia, as well as to simultaneously investigate if a hierarchy also exists among standard varieties of English. The participants completed a questionnaire that combined the matched-guise technique with the Likert-scale and a series of open-ended questions. The questions cover the identification of one of the three varieties of English, assessment of model speakers’ traits classified into social status and social closeness. Results show that, overall, EFL students react more positively to GA and SBS. However, this paper reports some unexpected results − SBS ranks the highest not only in terms of prestige, but also social closeness. This finding diverges from previous research and implies that, although GA might be more present in production with this group of EFL students, SBS still holds the position of the primary model variety, whose dominance also extends to social attractiveness.


Bayard, D. et al. 2001. Pax Americana: Accent attitudinal evaluations in New Zealand, Australia, and America. Journal of Sociolinguistics 5(1), 22–49.

Bradley, D. & M. Bradley. 2001. Changing attitudes to Australian English. In D. Blair and P. Collins (eds.) English in Australia. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 271–285.

Collins, B. & I. M. Mees. 2013. Practical Phonetics and Phonology. 3rd Edition. London and New York: Routledge.

Coupland, N. & H. Bishop. 2007. Ideologised values for British accents. Journal of Sociolinguistics 11(1), 74–93.

Čubrović, B. & A. Bjelaković. 2020. Pronunciation Model Selection, or Do You Speak American?. In B. Čubrović (ed.) BELLS90 Proceedings: International Conference to Mark the 90th Anniversary of the English Department, Faculty of Philology, University of Belgrade. Vol. 1. Belgrade: Faculty of Philology, University of Belgrade, 139–151.

Jarvella, R. et al. 2001. Of mouths and men: non-native listeners’ identification and evaluation of varieties of English. International Journal of Applied Linguistics 11(1), 37–56.

Ladegaard, H. J. 1998. National stereotypes and language attitudes: The perception of British, American and Australian language and culture in Denmark. Language and Communication 18, 251–274.

Ladegaard, H. J. & I. Sachdev. 2006. “I like the Americans... But I certainly don’t aim for an American accent”: Language attitudes, vitality and foreign language learning in Denmark. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 27(2), 91–108.

Melchers, G. & P. Shaw. 2003. World Englishes. 1st Edition. London: Arnold.

Paunović, T. 2009. Plus ça change. Poznań Studies in Contemporary Linguistics 45(4), 525–547.

Rindal, U. 2010. Constructing identity with L2: Pronunciation and attitudes among Norwegian learners of English. Journal of Sociolinguistics 14(2), 240–261.

Rindal, U. 2014. Questioning English standards: Learner attitudes and L2 choices in Norway. Multilingua 33(3–4), 313–334.

Rindal, U. & C. Piercy. 2013. Being ‘neutral’? English pronunciation among Norwegian learners. World Englishes 32(2), 211–229.

Seidlhofer, B. 2001. Closing a conceptual gap: The case for a description of English as a lingua franca. International Journal of Applied Linguistics 11(2), 133–158.

Seidlhofer, B. 2005. Understanding English as a Lingua Franca. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Stewart, M. A. et al. 1985. Accent and social class effects on status and solidarity evaluations. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 11(1), 98–105.

Wells, J. C. 1982. Accents of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.




How to Cite

Đukić, N. (2021). Questioning the Position of SBS as the Model Variety for Serbian EFL Students. Philologia, 18(1), 15–29.



Nauka o jeziku/Linguistics