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Defining the cognitive mechanisms underlying reactions to foreign accented speech

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Abstract

With the notable exception of the application of the metonymy model to explain stereotyping (Kristiansen, 2001), sociolinguistic language attitudes research has typically focused exclusively on explicit attitudes toward foreign accents without providing a cognitive model to explain how such attitudes are formed. At the same time, researchers in other fields have proposed the use of specific cognitive processing models such as the Elaboration Likelihood Model (Petty & Cacioppo, 1986) to explain the cognitive processes underlying reactions to foreign-accented speakers, without isolating foreign accent as an independent variable and without considering that listeners may possess different explicit and implicit attitudes towards the same speaker (e.g., Frumkin, 2007). Focusing on instances where participants exhibit different explicit attitudes toward the same foreign accented speaker for different speaker traits (e.g., likeability versus knowledge), the present study seeks to provide a deeper understanding of the nature of reactions to foreign accented speech by testing at which point negative attitudes toward foreign accents are formed and changed. Specifically, this research asks whether interlocutors have uniformly negative immediate associative reactions to foreign accent that are subsequently mitigated for certain judgments by propositional processes to form differing explicit attitudes, or whether the immediate reactions are ambivalent, but subsequently become negative for certain judgments through propositional processes.

References

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