The Role of Accent and Ethnicity in the Professional and Academic Context

Zainab Thamer Ahmed, Ain Nadzimah Abdullah, Chan Swee Heng

Abstract


Language learning may be affected by a language instructor’s accent. Many studies have been carried out to investigate whether accent has an influence on learners’ perceptions toward their instructors or whether accent can affect employability. This overview links studies on accents through an empirical literature review on native and non-native accents, summarizing the most significant studies conducted to investigate learners’ attitude toward accents. The learners as participants are both non-native and native speakers of a language. The results of the review demonstrated that speakers who use the standard language are preferred for prestigious jobs, whereas the nonstandard accented speakers are preferred for low-status jobs. Moreover, British and American accents are the most preferred by learners of English. Thus, the learners tended to show positive attitudes toward American and British accents and also adopt these varieties as models of pronunciation for their learning of English. In this review, limitations of some studies are highlighted and some implications for future studies related to accents, language learning at tertiary level and employability are discussed.


Keywords


Accent, Employability, Familiarity, Native speaker, Non-native speaker, Preference

Full Text:

PDF

References


Bernaisch, T. (2012). Attitudes towards Englishes in Sri Lanka. World Englishes, 31 (3), 279-291.

Bex, T., & Watts, R. J. (Eds.). (1999). Standard English: The widening debate. Routlege.

Brennan, E. M., & Brennan, J. S. (1981). Accent scaling and language attitudes: Reactions to Mexican-American English speech. Language and Speech, 24, 207-221.

Butler, Y. G. (2003). Perception versus reality: how important is it that Korean elementary school teachers speak “Good English”. World Papers in Educational Linguistics, 19, 1-25.

Cargile, A. C. (1997). Attitudes toward Chinese-accented speech: An investigation in two contexts. Language and Social Psychology, 16,434-443.

Cargile, A. C. (2000). Evaluations of employment suitability: Does accent always matter. Employment counseling, 37,165-176.

Cargile, A. C., & Giles, H. (1998). Language attitudes toward varieties of English: An American-Japanese context. Applied Communication Research, 26, 338-356.

Carlson, H. K., & McHenry, M. A. (2006). Effect of accent and dialect on employability. Journal of Employment Counseling, 43, 70-83.

Chiba, R., Matsuura, H., & Yamamoto, A. (1995). Japanese attitudes toward English accents. World Englishes, 14, 77-86.

Chyne, W. (1970). Stereotyped reactions to speakers with Scottish and English regional accents. British Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 9, 77-79.

Creswell, J. (1994). Research design qualitative and quantitative approaches. Thousand Oakes: Sage Publications.

Dalton-Puffer, C., Kaltenboeck, G., & Smit, U. (1997). Learner attitudes and L2 pronunciation in Austria. World Englishes, 16, 115-128.

De La Zerda, N., & Hopper, R. (1979). Employment interviewers’ reactions to Mexican-American speech. Communication Monographs, 46, 126-134.

Eisenstein, M. (1983). Native reactions to non-native speech: A review of empirical research. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 5,160-176.

Fishman, J. A. (1971). Sociolinguistics: A brief introduction. Boston: Rowley.

Fought, C. (2002). California students’ perceptions of, you know, regions and dialects?. In D. Long, & D. Preston, D. (Eds.), A handbook of perceptual dialectology, vol.2 (pp.113-34). Amesterdam: Benjamins.

Gallois, C., Callan, V. J., & Johnstone, M. (1984). Personality judgments of Australian Aborigine and White speakers: Ethnicity, sex and context. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 3, 39-57.

Gibb, M. (1999). A comparative study of attitudes towards varieties of English held by professionals and tertiary level students in Korea. The Korea TESOL Journal, 2 (1), 31-42.

Giles, H., & Sassoon, C. (1983).The effect of speaker’s accent, social class background and message style on British listeners’ social judgments. Language and Communication, 3, 305-313.

Gill, M. M. (1994). Accent and stereotypes: Their effect on perceptions of teachers and lecture comprehension. Applied Communication Research, 22, 349-361.

Hiraga, Y. (2005). British attitudes towards six varieties of English in the USA and Britain. World Englishes, 24,289-308.

Hogg, M. A., Joyce, N., & Abrams, D. (1984). Diglossia in Switzerland? A social identity analysis of speaker evaluation. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 3, 185-196.

Holmes, J. (1992). An introduction to sociolinguistics. New York, NY: Longman.

Hopper, R. (1977). Language attitudes in the employment interview. Communication Monographs, 44, 346-351.

Hopper, R., & Williams, F. (1973). Speech characterstics and employability. Speech Monographs, 44, 296-302.

Hughes, A., & Trudgill, P. (2003). English accents and dialects (3rd ed.). London, England: Arnold.

Kalin, R., Rayko, D. (1978). Discrimination in evaluative judgments against foreign-accented job candidates. Psychological Reports, 43, 1203-1209.

Kalin, R., Rayko, D. (1980).The social significance of speech in the job interview. In S. T. Clair, R. N. & H. Giles (Eds.), The social and psychological contexts of language (pp.39-50). Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum Associations.

Kalin, R., Rayko, D. S., & Love, N. (1980).The perception and evaluation of job candidates with four ethnic accents. In H. Giles, W.P. Robinson, & P. Smith (Eds.), Language: Social Psychological perspectives. Oxford, England: Pergamon Press.

Kim, Y. S. (2007). Korean Attitude towards Varieties of English, MSc Thesis, University of Edinburgh.

Lincoln, Y. S., & Guba, E.G. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.

Lippi-Green, R. (1997). English with an accent: Language ideology and discrimination in the United States. Routledge.

Luhman, R. (1990). Appalachian English stereotypes: Language attitudes in Kentucky. Language in Society, 19, 331-348.

Matsuura, H., Chiba, R., & Fujieda, M. (1999). Intelligibility and comprehensibility of American and Irish Englishes in Japan. World Englishes, 18 (1), 49-62.

Matsuura, H., Chiba, R., & Yamamoto, A. (1994). Japanese college students’ attitudes towards non-native varieties of English. In D. Graddol & J. Swann (Eds.), Evaluating language (pp.52-61). BAAL: Multilingual Matters.

McKenzie, R. M. (2008). Social factors and non-native attitudes towards varieties of spoken English: A Japanese case study. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 18 (1), 64-88.

McKenzie, R. M. (2010). The social psychology of English as a global language: Attitudes, awareness and identity in the Japanese context. London, England: Springer.

Milroy, L. (2001). The social categories of race and class: Language ideology and sociolinguistics. In N. Coupland, S. Sarangi, & C.N. Candlin (Eds.), Sociolinguistics and Social Theory (PP.16–39). London, England: Rutledge.

Nejjari, W., Gerritsen, M., Van Der Haagen, M., & Korzilius, H. (2012). Responses to Dutch-accented English. World Englishes, 31 (2), 248-267.

Paltrige, J., & Giles, H. (1984). Attitudes towards speakers of regional accents of French: Effects of regionality, age and sex of listeners. Linguistiche Berichte, 90, 71-85.

Pittam, J. (1987). Listeners’ evaluations of voice quality in Australian English speakers. Language and Speech, 30 (2), 99-113.

Purkiss, S. L. S., Perrewe, P. L., Gillespie, T. L, Mayes, B. T., & Ferris, G. R. (2006).Implicit sources of bias in employment interview judgments and decisions. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 10, 152-167.

Rakic, T., Steffens, M. C., & Mummendey, A. (2011). When it matters how you pronounce it: The influence of regional accents on job interview outcome. British Journal of Psychological Society, 102, 868-883.

Rey, A. (1977). Accent and employability: Language attitudes. Language Sciences, 47, 7-12.

Richards, J., Platt, J., & Platt, H. (1992). Longman Dictionary of Applied Linguistics (3rd ed.). Harlow: Longman.

Ryan, E. B., & Bulik, C. M. (1982). Evaluations of middle class and lower class speakers of standard American and German-accented English. Language and Social Psychology, 1, 51-61.

Ryan, E. B., & Giles, H. (1982). Attitudes towards language variation: Social and applied contexts. London, England: Edward Arnold.

Ryan, E. B., Hewstone, M., & Giles, H. (1984). Language and intergroup attitudes. In J. Eiser (Eds.), Attitudinal judgment (pp.135-160). New York, NY: Springer.

Seggie, I., Smith, N., & Hodgins, P. (1986). Evaluations of employment suitability based on accent alone: An Australian case study. Language Sciences, 8 (2), 129-140.

Sim, J. W. S., & Hew, K. F. (2010). The use of weblogs in higher education settings: A review of empirical research. Educational Research Review, 5, 151-163.

Singer, M., & Eder, G. S. (1989). Effects of ethnicity, accent, and job status on selection decisions. International Journal of Psychology, 24, 13-34.

Solís Obiols, M. (2002). The matched guise technique: A critical approximation to a classic test for formal measurement of language attitudes. Noves SL. Revista de Sociolinguistica, 1, 1-6.

Strongman, K., & Woolsey, J. (1967). Stereotypes reactions to regional accents. British Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 6, 164-167.

Shim, R. J. (2002). Changing attitudes towards TEWOL in Korea. Journal of Asia Pacific Communication, 12 (1), 143-158.

Tan, Y. Y. (2012). Age as a factor in ethnic accent identification in Singapore. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 33 (6), 569-587.

Wilson, J., & Bayard, D. (1992). Accent, gender, and the elderly listener: Evaluation of NZE and other English accents by rest home residents. Te Reo, 35, 19-56.

Ytsma, J. (1990, June). School children’s language attitudes in Friesland. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Dublin, Ireland.

Zhang, Q. (2009). Hong Kong people’s attitudes towards varieties of English. Newcastle Working Papers in Linguistics, 15, 151-173.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.2n.5p.249

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.




Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2012-2020 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.