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Percept Mot Skills. 2007 Feb;104(1):307-26.

Listeners' cognitive and affective reactions to English speakers with standard American English and Asian Accents.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, San Jose State University, One Washington Square, San Jose, CA 95192-0120, USA.


Using a 2 (speaker accent: standard American, Asian) x 2 (speakers' sex: male, female) between-subjects design, the present study examined the effects of accent and sex on listeners' cognitive and affective reactions towards speakers with standard American English accents and Asian accents. 70 female and 27 male college students (M = 21.8 yr., SD = 4.7) listened to the audio recording of a monologue by one of the speakers in the early 20s who differed in accent and sex. Standard American English was operationalized as nonaccented English, typical of the western part of the USA, and Vietnamese-accented English was used as an exemplar of Asian-accented English. Results showed that relative to standard American-accented English speakers, Asian-accented English speakers were perceived as poorer communicators who were less potent, less threatening, and more concerned about others. These cognitive reactions to Asian-accented English speakers include (a) the general stereotype associated with an accent, status and solidarity, as well as (b) the stereotype unique to Asians as an ethnic group, being concerned for others and poorer communicators. Analysis also showed that speakers with an Asian accent evoked more negative affect and required more attention from listeners than did speakers with a standard American English accent. Implications of the study are discussed.

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