Studies on intercultural encounters lead to the widely accepted findings that individuals who speak with a standard accent (of the dominant group in society) will be rated higher in intelligence, education, social class, success, friendliness, trustworthiness, kindness (Anderson et al., 2007), ... and lower in guilt. Ratings of a recorded exchange between a British criminal suspect and a policeman showed that the suspect was rated as significantly more guilty when he employed a Birmingham rather than a standard accent (Dixon et al., 2002).
Prejudices based on accent can advantage and disadvantage people in job markets. In the US, for instance, Spanish-accented applicants are more likely to be considered for semi-skilled jobs and American-English-accented applicants for supervisory jobs. However, there are differences in the perception of "foreign" accents as British English, the French accent and some Asian varieties do not always seem to be perceived negatively (Nguyen, 2010). According to a study carried out in the US, individuals with a British accent are even rated as having a higher status than those speaking American English (Weyant, 2007).
British accent meets US-American accent: "The Persuaders" starring Tony Curtis as Danny Wilde and Roger Moore as Brett Rupert George Robert Mark Anthony Andrew Sinclair, 15th Earl of Marnock. Brilliant.
- Anderson, S., Downs, S. D., Faucette, K., Griffin, J., King, T. & Woolstenhulme, S. (2007) How Accents Affect Perception of Intelligence, Physical Attractiveness, and Trustworthiness of Middle-Eastern-, Latin-American-, British-, and Standard-American-English-Accented Speakers. BYU Undergraduate Journal of Psychology, 3, 5-11
- Dixon, J. A., Mohoney, B. & Cocks, R. (2002) Accents of Guilt. Effects of Regional Accent, Race, and Crime Type on Attributions of Guilt. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 21(2), 162-168
- Nguyen, L. T. (2010) Employment Decisions as a Function of an Applicant's Accent. San Jose State University: Master's Theses. Paper 3882
- Weyant, J. M. (2007) Perspective Taking as a Means of Reducing Negative Stereotyping of Individuals Who Speak English as a Second Language. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 34(4), 703-716
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