Native Dutch listeners’ attitudes towards speakers of Dutch-accented English and Native British English: the influence of listener’s language proficiency.

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Over the years, the English language has attained the role of a lingua franca, which led to an increased demand for non-native employees to communicate in English on a daily basis. However, communication between differently accented speakers can lead to judgment and potentially discrimination in a workplace, as native speakers are usually preferred over non-native speakers. This study investigated the effect of Dutch native listener’s proficiency on attitudes towards British-accented English (standard) and Dutch-accented English (non-standard) speakers. In a verbal-guise experiment with two speakers and 125 Dutch student participants, the evaluations of the speaker on dimensions of perceived comprehensibility, hirability, status, solidarity, and dynamism were examined. No significant influence of listener’s proficiency on the evaluations of accentedness in the job application context was found. However, the research yielded significant results for accentedness and the dependant variables. British-accented English was favored over Dutch-accented English regarding hirability, status, and perceived comprehensibility. These findings indicate that non-standard speakers have a higher possibility of facing workplace discrimination and have fewer hiring opportunities in comparison to Standard English speakers.
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