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  Evaluations of accents can be used as a measure of prestige

Samarasinghe, A., Berl, R., Gavin, M. C., & Jordan, F. (2019). Evaluations of accents can be used as a measure of prestige. SocArXiv, abgue. doi:10.31235/osf.io/abgue.

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Samarasinghe_Evaluations_SocArXiv_2019.docx (Preprint), 372KB
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Samarasinghe_Evaluations_SocArXiv_2019.docx
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 Creators:
Samarasinghe, Alarna, Author
Berl, Richard, Author
Gavin, Michael C.1, Author              
Jordan, Fiona1, Author              
Affiliations:
1Linguistic and Cultural Evolution, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society, ou_2074311              

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Free keywords: Accent, Cultural evolution, Language attitudes, Prestige, Social transmission biases, Sociolinguistics
 Abstract: Sociolinguistic studies have established that people make judgements about speakers based on accent. Standard and non-standard accents have differing levels of prestige and demonstrate variation across other attitudinal terms. Because prestige can increase the likelihood of information transmission, we explore variation in accent prestige to determine whether accent can be used as a measure of prestige in social transmission experiments. Participants (n=152 US; 142 UK) were presented with standardised recordings of a standard passage, containing lexical terms that highlight phonological differences between accents of English. Passages were spoken by middle-aged white male speakers representing a range of eight accents from the listener’s country of residence and two from the alternative country. Participants rated the speakers on 24 different personal qualities including traits associated with prestige and friendliness. As predicted, participants rated the standard accents favourably for prestige across both locations. Participants perceived location-specific non-standard accents as having lower prestige, and accents deemed as having lower prestige as being friendlier. Accent indexes differential qualities for listeners, regardless of whether the concept is operationalised by the term “prestigious” or multiple terms related to ‘prestige’. We assert that accent can be used as an indicator of prestige in the absence of other prestige information and demonstrate the importance of locally calibrating the accents used in prestige-based social transmission experiments.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2019-11-13
 Publication Status: Published online
 Pages: 24
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: 1. Introduction

2. Methods
2.1 Ethical statement
2.2 Participants
2.3 Protocol
2.4 Recordings
2.5. Attitudinal Variables
2.6 Data Analysis

3. Results

4. Discussion
4.1 Accents can be used to index social characteristics
4.2 Accents demonstrate differential prestige
4.3 Regional accents are perceived as friendlier
4.4 Prestigious accents are less likely to be considered friendly
4.5 Accents as a robust proxy for prestige
 Rev. Type: -
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.31235/osf.io/abgue
Other: shh2463
 Degree: -

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Title: SocArXiv
Source Genre: Journal
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Affiliations:
Publ. Info: Ithaca, NY : Cornell University
Pages: - Volume / Issue: - Sequence Number: abgue Start / End Page: - Identifier: -