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The Way They Speak: A Social Psychological Perspective on the Stigma of Nonnative Accents in Communication

Agata Gluszek, John F. Dovidio

Published in “Personality and Social Psychology Review,” Volume 14, May 2010.

Abstract: The present review seeks to bridge research on accents, stigma, and communication by examining the empirical literature on nonnative accents, considering the perspectives of both speakers and listeners. The authors suggest that an accent, or one’s manner of pronunciation, differs from other types of stigma. They consider the role of communicative processes in the manner in which accents influence people and identify social and contextual factors related to accents that affect the speaker, the listener, and the interaction between them. The authors propose a framework of stigma of accents and possible future avenues of research to examine the social psychological and communicative effects of accents. They also discuss implications for stigma of other types of accents (e.g., other native, regional, and ethnic). Understanding how stigma of accents and communication affect each other provides a new theoretical approach to studying this type of stigma and can eventually lead to interventions.

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