Instruction videos: how degree of accentedness influences their effectiveness.
The present study was interested in accents in an instructional video context. Accents are abundant and part of our everyday life due to the ever-increasing globalization and English being a Lingua Franca. Previous research has shown that accents can have negatively influence comprehensibility, as well as various attitudes towards the speaker such as status, likeability and competence. However, no study has yet investigated the influence of accents in an instructional video context. As such, the current study is the first to investigate the effects of various degrees of accent strength on the effectiveness of an instructional video in terms of performance and attitudes towards the speaker. The experiment was carried out online where Dutch native participants watched an accented video instruction (native, slight or moderate) and answered questions pertaining to 1) multiple-choice questions, which tested their estimated performance, 2) comprehensibility of the speaker, 3) attitudes towards the speaker (status, likeability, competence). The present study found evidence that supports the notion that comprehensibility and attitudes towards the speaker are negatively influenced by moderate accents compared to slight and native English accents, except for competence, which was higher for native than both slight and moderate. Performance was not significant among the accent groups, but comprehensibility, competence and status did predict performance. Thus, in an instructional video context, it is important to have a native speaker be the representative of a company, since a native speaker commends higher status, likeability and competence than a moderately accented speaker, which may result in higher performance. However, it must be noted that the current study did not measure actual performance, but instead measured estimated performance due to developments in COVID.
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