Document Type

Article

Publication Date

5-16-2017

Abstract

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.

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