Volume 8, Issue 3
  • ISSN 2215-1931
  • E-ISSN: 2215-194X
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This study examined listeners’ evaluations of first (L1) and second language (L2) English speech in work-related contexts. Ninety-six English-speaking listeners from Calgary rated audio recordings of 12 English speakers (6 L1 English, 6 L1 Tagalog) along three continua capturing one professional (competence), one experiential (treatment preference), and one linguistic (comprehensibility) dimension. The audio recordings additionally differed in terms of job prestige (high vs. low) and performance level (high vs. low). Compared to English speakers, Tagalog speakers were rated as less competent and comprehensible overall, and listeners wished to be treated more like the clients in scenarios recorded by English than Tagalog speakers, with all effects magnified for speakers with heavier foreign accents. Nonetheless, listeners generally evaluated English and Tagalog speakers similarly in low-prestige and in low-performance scenarios, but rated low performance less negatively in low-prestige positions. Findings demonstrate highly nuanced accent bias in work-related contexts.


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