The effect of Spanish- and Arabic-accented speech on the employability of applicants
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The growing use of English as a Lingua Franca results in many L2/non-native speakers of English using it on a regular basis. As research has shown, foreign-accented speech influences the way a speaker is perceived. This phenomenon impacts the hiring process. Up to now, little research has focused on the impact non-native accented English has on hiring decisions evaluated by other non-native English speakers. Therefore, this study aims to investigate how Spanish-accented, Arabic-accented and native British speakers are evaluated with regard to employability decisions. These evaluations were made by 131 Dutch and 80 German participants. Based on speech samples, speakers are evaluated regarding their comprehensibility, attitudinal impressions and their perceived employability. The results show that the Spanish and British accents were evaluated similarly, while the Arabic accented speakers were downgraded. This suggests that the perception of foreignness of an accent may provoke negative associations and decrease the perceived employability.
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