A Short note on Accent–bias, Social Identity and Ethnocentrism

Rahul Chakraborty


This paper discusses the interrelations among accent-based biases, social identity and ethnocentrism. Construction of social identity creates a set of ethnocentric values within a person, which indirectly or directly plays a pivotal role in generating accent related biases. Starting with Tajfel’s (1959) social identity theory and then the discussion of ethnocentrism, accent related biases have a long documented origin, development and consequences. People construct their social identity based on numerous variables and then their in-group and out-group memberships are established. Ethnocentrism, as a variable, influences listeners’ accent perception and subsequent judgment regarding their perceived accent. The degree of ethnocentrism is related to speakers’ potential accent biases. As legal safeguard against accent related biases is absent, active resistance and awareness-initiation are expected from speech language pathologists and the concerned community in general. Role of training institutions is discussed. 


Social identity, Ethnocentrism, Accent, Biases, Discrimination

Full Text:



Abrams, D., & Hogg, M. A. (1988). Comments on the motivational status of self‐esteem in social identity and intergroup discrimination. European Journal of Social Psychology, 18(4), 317-334.

Adank, P., Evans, B. G., Stuart-Smith, J., & Scott, S. K. (2009). Comprehension of familiar and unfamiliar native accents under adverse listening conditions. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 35(2), 520.

Berry, J. W. (1977). Multiculturalism and Ethnic Attitudes in Canada.

Bradlow, A. R., & Bent, T. (2008). Perceptual adaptation to non-native speech. Cognition, 106(2), 707-729.

Cargile, A. C., Maeda, E., Rodriguez, J., & Rich, M. (2010). "Oh, you speak English so well!” US American listeners' perceptions of" Foreignness" among nonnative speakers. Journal of Asian American Studies, 13(1), 59-79.

Carlson, H. K., & McHenry, M. A. (2006). Effect of accent and dialect on employability. Journal of employment counseling, 43(2), 70-83.

Cohen, E., Atkinson, Q. D., Dediu, D., Dingemanse, M., D. Kinzler, K., Ladd, D. R., & Cohen, E. (2012). The evolution of tag-based cooperation in humans: the case for accent. Current Anthropology, 53(5), 588-616.

Coupland, N., & Bishop, H. (2007). Ideologised values for British accents. Journal of sociolinguistics, 11(1), 74-93.

Crandall, C. S., Eshleman, A., & O'brien, L. (2002). Social norms and the expression and suppression of prejudice: the struggle for internalization. Journal of personality and social psychology, 82(3), 359-378.

Creese, G., & Kambere, E. N. (2003). What colour is your English?. Canadian Review of Sociology/Revue canadienne de sociologie, 40(5), 565-573.

Deprez‐Sims, A. S., & Morris, S. B. (2010). Accents in the workplace: Their effects during a job interview. International Journal of Psychology, 45(6), 417-426.

Deprez‐Sims, A. S., & Morris, S. B. (2013). The Effect of Non‐native Accents on the Evaluation of Applicants during an Employment Interview: The development of a path model. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 21(4), 355-367.

Derwing, T. M., & Munro, M. J. (1997). Accent, intelligibility, and comprehensibility. Studies in second language acquisition, 19(1), 1-16.

Derwing, T. M., & Munro, M. J. (2009). Putting accent in its place: Rethinking obstacles to communication. Language teaching, 42(4), 476-490.

Derwing, T., & Munro, M. J. (2001). What speaking rates do non-native listeners prefer?. Applied Linguistics, 22(3), 324-337.

Frumkin, L. (2007). Influences of accent and ethnic background on perceptions of eyewitness testimony. Psychology, Crime & Law, 13(3), 317-331.

Fuertes, J. N., & Gelso, C. J. (2000). Hispanic counselors' race and accent and Euro Americans' universal-diverse orientation: A study of initial perceptions. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 6(2), 211-219.

Fuertes, J. N., Gottdiener, W. H., Martin, H., Gilbert, T. C., & Giles, H. (2012). A meta‐analysis of the effects of speakers' accents on interpersonal evaluations. European Journal of Social Psychology, 42(1), 120-133.

Gagnon, A., & Bourhis, R. Y. (1996). Discrimination in the minimal group paradigm: Social identity or self-interest? Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 22(12), 1289-1301.

Giles, H. (1971). Ethnocentrism and the evaluation of accented speech. British Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 10(2), 187-188.

Giles, H., & Watson, B. M. (2013). The social meanings of language, dialect and accent: International perspectives on speech styles (Vol. 16). Peter Lang Publishing.

Giles, H., Williams, A., Mackei, D.M., Rosselli, F., 1995. Reactions to Anglo- and Hispanic-American-accented speakers: affect, identity, persuasion, and the English only controversy. Language & Communication 165, 107–120. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0271-5309(94)00019-9.

Gluszek, A., & Dovidio, J. F. (2010). Speaking with a nonnative accent: Perceptions of bias, communication difficulties, and belonging in the United States. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 29(2), 224-234.

Goral, M., Levy, E. S., & Kastl, R. (2010). Cross‐language treatment generalisation: A case of trilingual aphasia. Aphasiology, 24(2), 170-187.

Hansen, K., Rakić, T., & Steffens, M. C. (2014). When actions speak louder than words: Preventing discrimination of nonstandard speakers. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 33(1), 68-77.

Hansen, K., Steffens, M. C., Rakić, T., & Wiese, H. (2017). When appearance does not match accent: neural correlates of ethnicity-related expectancy violations. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. 12(3), 507-515.

Heblich, S., Lameli, A., & Riener, G. (2015). The Effect of Perceived Regional Accents on Individual Economic Behavior: A Lab Experiment on Linguistic Performance, Cognitive Ratings and Economic Decisions. PLoS ONE, 10(2), [e0113475]. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0113475

Hewstone, M. and Ward, C. 1985. Ethnocentrism and causal attribution in Southeast Asia. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 48: 614–623.

Hogg, M. A., Abrams, D., Otten, S., & Hinkle, S. (2004). The social identity perspective intergroup relations, self-conception, and small groups. Small group research, 35(3), 246-276.

Hosoda, M., Nguyen, L. T., & Stone-Romero, E. F. (2012). The effect of Hispanic accents on employment decisions. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 27(4), 347-364.

Hustad, K. C., & Cahill, M. A. (2003). Effects of presentation mode and repeated familiarization on intelligibility of dysarthric speech. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 12(2), 198-208.

Hustad, K. C., & Beukelman, D. R. (2002). Listener Comprehension of Severely Dysarthric SpeechEffects of Linguistic Cues and Stimulus Cohesion. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 45(3), 545-558.

Islam, M. R. and Hewstone, M. 1993. Intergroup attributions and affective consequences in majority and minority groups. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 64: 936–950.

Kawakami, K., Phills, C. E., Greenwald, A. G., Simard, D., Pontiero, J., Brnjas, A., & Dovidio, J. F. (2012). In perfect harmony: synchronizing the self to activated social categories. Journal of personality and social psychology, 102(3), 562-575.

Krings, F., & Olivares, J. (2007). At the doorstep to employment: Discrimination against immigrants as a function of applicant ethnicity, job type, and raters' prejudice. International Journal of Psychology, 42(6), 406-417.

Langdon, H. W., & Cheng, L. R. L. (2002). Collaborating with interpreters and translators: A guide for communication disorders professionals. Eau Claire, WI: Thinking Publications.

Lindemann, S. (2005). Who speaks “broken English”? US undergraduates’ perceptions of non‐native English. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 15(2), 187-212.

Lippi-Green, R. (1997). English with an accent: Language, ideology, and discrimination in the United States. Psychology Press.

Lev-Ari, S., & Keysar, B. (2010). Why don't we believe non-native speakers? The influence of accent on credibility. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46(6), 1093-1096.

Levy, E. S., & Crowley, C. J. (2012). Policies and practices regarding students with accents in speech-language pathology training programs. Communication Disorders Quarterly, 34(1), 59-68.

Matsuda, M. J. (1991). Voices of America: Accent, antidiscrimination law, and a jurisprudence for the last reconstruction. Yale Law Journal, 100(5), 1329-1407.

Milroy, L., & McClenaghan, P. (1977). Stereotyped reactions to four educated accents in Ulster. Belfast Working Papers in Language and Linguistics, 2, 1-11.

Montgomery, J. K. (1999). Accents and Dialects: Creating a National Professional Statement. Topics in Language Disorders, 19(4), 78 -86.

Neuliep, J. W., & Speten-Hansen, K. M. (2013). The influence of ethnocentrism on social perceptions of nonnative accents. Language & Communication, 33(3), 167-176.

Neuliep, J. W., Hintz, S. M., & McCroskey, J. C. (2005). The influence of ethnocentrism in organizational contexts: Perceptions of interviewee and managerial attractiveness, credibility, and effectiveness. Communication Quarterly, 53(1), 41-56.

Neuliep, J. W., & Ryan, D. J. (1998). The influence of intercultural communication apprehension and socio‐communicative orientation on uncertainty reduction during initial cross‐cultural interaction. Communication Quarterly, 46(1), 88-99.

Neuliep, J. W., & McCroskey, J. C. (1997). The development of a US and generalized ethnocentrism scale. Communication Research Reports, 14(4), 385-398.

Neuliep, J. W., & McCroskey, J. C. (1997). The development of intercultural and interethnic communication apprehension scales. Communication Research Reports, 14(2), 145-156.

Neuliep, J. W., & McCroskey, J. C. (2001). The influence of ethnocentrism on perceptions of interviewee attractiveness, credibility, and socio-communicative style. In annual convention of the International Communication Association, Washington, DC.

Neuliep, J. W., & Ryan, D. J. (1998). The influence of intercultural communication apprehension and socio‐communicative orientation on uncertainty reduction during initial cross‐cultural interaction. Communication Quarterly, 46(1), 88-99.

Ng, S. H., & Bradac, J. J. (1993). Power in language: Verbal communication and social influence. Sage Publications, Inc.

Ovalle, B. D., & Chakraborty, R. (2013). Accent Policy and Accent Modification Enterprises as Potential Indicators of Intercultural Power Relations: A Call for an Updated Research Agenda. SIG 17 Perspectives on Global Issues in Communication Sciences and Related Disorders, 3(1), 22-33.

Perreault, S., & Bourhis, R. Y. (1999). Ethnocentrism, social identification, and discrimination. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 25(1), 92-103.

Perry, S. P., Murphy, M. C., & Dovidio, J. F. (2015). Modern prejudice: Subtle, but unconscious? The role of Bias Awareness in Whites' perceptions of personal and others' biases. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 61, 64-78. DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2015.06.007

Phills, C. E., Kawakami, K., Tabi, E., Nadolny, D., & Inzlicht, M. (2011). Mind the gap: Increasing associations between the self and Blacks with approach behaviors. Journal of personality and social psychology, 100(2), 197 -210.

Rogers, C. L., DeMasi, T. M., & Krause, J. C. (2010). Conversational and clear speech intelligibility of /bVd/ syllables produced by native and non-native English speakers. Journal of

the Acoustical Society of America, 128, 410–423.

Ryan, C. (2013). Language use in the United States: 2011. American community survey reports, 22, 1-16.

Rubin, D. L. (1992). Nonlanguage factors affecting undergraduates' judgments of nonnative English-speaking teaching assistants. Research in Higher education, 33(4), 511-531.

Rubin, D. L., & Smith, K. A. (1990). Effects of accent, ethnicity, and lecture topic on undergraduates' perceptions of nonnative English-speaking teaching assistants. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 14(3), 337-353.

Shah, A. P. (2012). Accent modification for speakers with Indian accents: Speech characteristics and an assessment framework. SIG 14 Perspectives on Communication Disorders and Sciences in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) Populations, 19(1), 12-20.

Smiljanić, R., & Bradlow, A. R. (2008). Temporal organization of English clear and conversational speech a. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 124(5), 3171-3182.

Sumner, W. G. (1906). Folkways: A study of the sociological importance of usages, manners, customs, mores, and morals. Boston, MA: Ginn and Company.

Tajfel, H. (1972). La catégorisation sociale [Social categorization]. In S. Moscovici (Ed.). Introduction à la psychologie sociale (Vol. 1, pp. 272-302). Paris: Larousse.

Turner, J. C., Brown, R. J., & Tajfel, H. (1979). Social comparison and group interest in ingroup favouritism. European journal of social psychology, 9(2), 187-204.

Vornik, L., Sharman, S., & Garry, M. (2003). The power of the spoken word: Sociolinguistic cues influence the misinformation effect. Memory, 11(1), 101-109.

Warr, P. B., Faust, J., & Harrison, G. J. (1967). A British ethnocentrism scale. British Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 6(4), 267-277.

Weber, J. G. (1994). The nature of ethnocentric attribution bias: Ingroup protection or enhancement?. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 30: 482–504.

Yzerbyt, V., Provost, V., & Corneille, O. (2005). Not competent but warm... really? Compensatory stereotypes in the French-speaking world. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 8(3), 291-308.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.alls.v.8n.4p.57


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2010-2022 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

Advances in Language and Literary Studies

You may require to add the 'aiac.org.au' domain to your e-mail 'safe list’ If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox'. Otherwise, you may check your 'Spam mail' or 'junk mail' folders.