Conscious Decision or Inherent Preference? The Predictive Relationship between Personality Traits of Dutch Listeners and their Evaluations of Moroccan Flavoured Dutch Speakers.

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Evaluations of speakers with a foreign or non-standard accent have been studied numerous times. However, the origin of these evaluations is underexplored, while only limited research has been done into what intrinsically motivates a person to evaluate a non-standard speaker differently from a standard speaker. Therefore, in this verbal-guise experiment (n = 79) consisting of two conditions, Standard Dutch and Moroccan flavoured Dutch (a generally downgraded non-standard accent), the difference in understandability (perceived intelligibility, perceived comprehensibility) and attitudinal evaluations (status, competence, likeability, dynamism) and the predictive effects of personality dimensions (HEXACO) for these evaluations is tested. Dutch listeners were asked to evaluate either Standard Dutch or Moroccan flavoured Dutch speakers and self-report their personality through the HEXACO-60 scale. Main findings include significant differences between Standard-Dutch and Moroccan flavoured Dutch on perceived intelligibility, comprehensibility and likeability. HEXACO dimension Honesty-Humility predicted status and likability evaluations, while extraversion, emotional stability and openness were expected to be significant predictors, but proved not to be. The non-significant predictive results suggest the difference in understandability ratings is not an unconscious decision inherent to personality, but rather a conscious decision influenced by external factors. The for the most part unsignificant differences in attitudinal evaluations suggest Moroccan flavoured Dutch is not downgraded as much as expected from previous research, but the understandability differences not predicted by personality indicate that society should be made aware of the discrimination that is still shown as a consequence of factors other than accent. Future accentedness research should attempt to characterize the Moroccan flavoured Dutch accent more precisely regarding phonetic, phonological and interjecting characteristics and incorporate context to study interaction effects of accent and context. The predictive effects of personality should be studied with larger homogenous and heterogenous samples to examine the effect of the sample size and characteristics on the results and to increase understanding of the origin of speaker evaluations.
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