Two experiments tested the prediction that heavy foreign-accented
speakers are evaluated more negatively than mild foreign-accented
speakers because the former are perceived as more prototypical (i.e.,
representative) of their respective group and their speech disrupts
listeners’ processing fluency (i.e., is more difficult to process).
Participants listened to a mild or heavy Punjabi- (Study 1) or
Mandarin-accented (Study 2) speaker. Compared to the mildaccented
speaker, the heavy-accented speaker in both studies was
attributed less status (but not solidarity), was perceived as more
prototypical of their respective group, disrupted listeners’
processing fluency, and elicited a more negative affective
reaction. The negative effects of accent strength on status were
mediated by processing fluency and sequentially by processing
fluency and affect, but not by prototypicality. Theoretical,
methodological, and practical implications are discussed.
Tatum, Nicholas, "The fluency principle: Why foreign accent strength negatively biases language attitudes" (2017). Communication and Sociology. 6.
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