Non-humorous and humorous self-disclosure of accents: their effects on the evaluations of French accented speakers of English during a job interview.

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The internationalization of companies has led to different nationalities at the workplace who often speak English with each other, hence different accents. Previous research has shown that a moderate foreign accent is perceived more negatively than a slight or native accent. This was proven to be a problem also during job interviews. The purpose of the present study was to investigate how humorous and non-humorous self-disclosure influence the negative evaluations of slightly and moderately French accented speakers of English in a hiring context in terms of hireability, comprehensibility and attitudinal evaluations. In an experiment, 168 people with a mother tongue other than English and French evaluated audio fragments recorded by a speaker with both a slight and a moderate French accent in English. The participants heard one of the two accent strengths and one of the three self-disclosing comments (no comment, humorous, non-humorous). Findings showed that the self-disclosing comments, both humorous and non-humorous, did not affect the evaluations of the French accented speaker of English for both the moderate and the slight accent. Only accent strength did have an effect on the evaluations of the speaker. The slight French accent was rated higher on comprehensibility and hireability than the moderate French accent, a finding with which previous findings can be extended to a listener group with a different mother tongue than the speaker and the language the speaker was talking in. Furthermore, a self-disclosing comment might work if listeners pay attention to the comment, which in the current study was not the case for all participants.
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