Perception of Nonnative Accent: A Cross-Sectional Perspective Pilot Survey

Document Type: Research Paper

Authors

1 Texas State University, USA

2 University of Houston, USA

Abstract

Accent bias is a consequence of ethnocentrism. No studies have examined accent bias across educational levels in the U.S., much less across students and professionals in speech language pathology (SLP), a field that requires multicultural sensitivity training. This study examines nonnative accent perception among three groups—high schoolers, SLP students, and SLP professionals. One-hundred-and-sixty-five respondents completed an online survey that determined whether respondents held unbiased associations between nonnative accent and personality traits, sociocultural factors, professional attire, and personal appearance, in addition to participants’ view of their own accent. Fixed-effect binomial logistic regression analyses indicated high schoolers were less likely to hold unbiased beliefs about persons with accents than would be expected by chance and that SLP students and professionals held significantly more unbiased beliefs than high schoolers. Surprisingly, despite the multicultural sensitivity training infused in the SLP curricula, SLP professionals still hold biased beliefs against people with accent. Potential suggestions are discussed to minimize accent-based biases.

Keywords