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This study looks at how migrants’ accents are portrayed, labelled, and constructed in media discourse, investigating media coverage of migrants’ accents in the Australian press from 2007 to 2017, a period highlighted by changes in Australian citizenship policies and public discourse. While language has been extensively discussed in policy discourse, there has been a notable dearth of research on the coexistence of dialects and accents within official languages as portrayed in media platforms. Using a corpus-assisted critical discourse analysis of 2,657,016 words from Australian newspaper articles, the study applies raciolinguistic ideologies to show how the press justifies and legitimizes migrant accent-related issues. The results suggest that speakers of Inner Circle English variants are positioned differently from non-white/Outer and Expanding Circle speakers. Speakers of the Inner Circle were far more likely than other speakers to have their accents described as ‘broad’ or ‘thick’, and they were more likely to have the national variation they spoke specifically named. Others, in contrast, regularly described racialized speakers as simply having a ‘foreign’ accent, and many of them frequently claimed trying to ‘change’ their accent or ‘fake’ an Australian accent in an effort to gain access to employment and broader social acceptance. These results emphasize the subtle and not-so-subtle ways that non-white migrant speakers are positioned as incompetent speakers and demonstrate how raciolinguistic ideologies, linguistic racism, and accent laboring concerns are widespread in Australian society. These findings highlight the significance of corpus approaches for studying language related issues and provide insight into accent biases produced by the media in Australian society.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keywords: CADS ; migration linguistics ; Australia ; migrant accent
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