Social Psychological Orientations and Accent Strength

Agata Gluszek, Anna-Kaisa Newheiser, John F. Dovidio

Published in “Journal of Language and Social Psychology,” Volume 30, March 2011.

Abstract: Past research has focused on demographic and skill-acquisition variables, such as age of arrival and length of residence in the host country, to predict accent strength in a nonnative language. The present research investigated the relationships between accent strength and social psychological orientations of nonnative English speakers in the United States. Employing causal modeling techniques, this research extended previous work by examining nonnative speakers’ identification with the United States along with age and length of residence as predictors of both other- and self-perceived accent strengths. The research further investigated how accent strength may predict speakers’ perceptions of communication challenges and lack of social belonging. The results supported the proposed over alternative models. The importance of taking into account sociopsychological factors as both predictors and consequences of accent strength is considered, along with implications for research on the stigma of nonnative accents.

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