Due to the multimodal nature of speech perception, social information such as race, gender, or accent gleaned from hearing and seeing a conversational partner can have an influence on how we perceive their speech. One’s preexisting beliefs about language and social identity can not only impact how we perceive the speech of others, but provide a window into what shapes their own speech patterns. This paper examines the sociolinguistic attitudes and beliefs of 46 participants in interviews conducted as part of the “Race, Ethnicity, and Speech Intelligibility in Normal Hearing and Hearing Impairment” project. Responses these participants gave in their sociolinguistic interviews suggested that a large number of them viewed a stereotypical English speaker as a white, highly educated, accentless speaker of American or British English, and (with few exceptions) did not view their authentic speech patterns as aligning with those of this stereotypical speaker due to a broad range of regional, cultural and linguistic differences. Future analysis of these interviews may reveal how these participants' linguistic attitudes may influence how their speech is perceived by listeners.
This research was supported by the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP).
Opusunju, Shelby D.
Attitudes toward Language Variation: Evidence from a Qualitative Study of Sociolinguistic Interviews.
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