The Effects of Non-Native Accented English on Employability Decisions in Dutch and German Business Environments.

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In light of the economic globalization, the use of English as the lingua franca has become a crucial factor for effective interactions. Accordingly, the presence of non-native accented English in businesses is increasing, which may impact upon the speaker’s perceived expertise. Particularly in job interviews, studies have shown that non-native English speakers tend to be downgraded and perceived as less employable when applying in a native English environment. However, hitherto very little is known about the impact of non-native accentedness on employability decisions evaluated by likewise non-native English speakers. Consequently, the purpose of the present study was to investigate the impact of Spanish-accented English, Arabic-accented English and Standard British English on employability decisions in Dutch and German business environments. In an online experiment, 131 Dutch and 80 German participants evaluated speech fragments recorded by Arabic-accented speakers, Spanish-accented speakers and Standard British English speakers. Findings showed, that applicants with an Arabic-accented English were perceived as the least employable, whereas Spanish-accented English applicants were evaluated to be equally eligible for the position as the British applicants. The outcome indicates that perceived foreignness of an accent may trigger negative associations with the applicant. Consequently, it would be recommended to develop cultural seminars for Dutch and German companies in order to counteract stereotypical associations with Arabic applicants.
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