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The Evaluations of Native English Speakers Toward Two Native and Two Non-native English Accents - A study of Language Attitudes Toward English Accents


  • Mawj Ahmed Mahmood

Summary, in English

This paper examined the language attitudes of native English speakers recruited from Reddit toward two native and two non-native English accents by applying the verbal-guise technique and using speech audio files from The Speech Accent Archive (Weinberger, 2017). The two native English accents are General American and Received Pronunciation. The two non-native English accents are German and Mexican-accented English. The discrepancy in results from previous research on accent evaluations was interesting and called for further investigation. The survey was constructed in Google Forms to assess native English speakers’ language attitudes toward four English accents. Social attractiveness was assessed by two traits, which are friendliness and niceness. Intelligence, education, and competence are the traits used to assess social status. The traits were evaluated on a 5-point Likert scale. Social class and character roles are categorical variables, and they were assessed by using separate questions with multiple-choice answers. The participants were native English speakers from various English-speaking countries. The participants were recruited from three Reddit pages which are r/SampleSize, r/ENGLISH, and r/SurveyExchange. The findings revealed the participants’ attitudes towards the different accents. There was an evaluation hierarchy among all four accents. Depending on the examined traits from the social attractiveness and social status dimensions, a standard accent received higher ratings than a foreign accent. However, when looking closely at the results, there is an evaluation hierarchy between all four accents, and both native accents did not receive the highest ratings. Instead, one of the native accents received the highest ratings, while the other ranked in the middle. The study results provide further evidence in support of the previous studies on language attitudes and evaluation of accents on the scales of social attractiveness and social status. The findings support the claim that, depending on the spoken accent, different attitudes are formed, and this showed up in the ratings by the participants.







Examensarbete för kandidatexamen


  • Languages and Literatures


  • language attitudes
  • language attitudes toward English accents
  • stereotypes
  • native English speakers’ accent evaluations
  • social attractiveness
  • social status
  • social class
  • character roles


  • Sara Farshchi (PhD Candidate)