Author

Eunkyung Na

Graduation Year

2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Adult, Career and Higher Education

Major Professor

Waynne B. James, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Jeffrey D. Kromrey, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Tony X. Tan, Ed.D.

Committee Member

William H. Young III, Ed.D.

Keywords

accent bias, auditory IAT, Implicit Association Test, Implicit attitudes, language attitudes, nonnative accent

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the implicit language attitudes of college-level instructors toward accented English and the effect of gender, teaching experience, and home language background on those attitudes. The auditory multifactor Implicit Association Test (IAT) was used to measure the implicit attitudes toward Standard, Chinese, Hispanic, and Korean accented English. For the current study, audio stimuli were embedded into the multifactor IAT, which became available for the first time in 2014. The auditory multifactor IAT generated implicit preference scores of six pairs of accented English: Standard vs. Chinese, Standard vs. Hispanic, Standard vs. Korean, Chinese vs. Hispanic, Chinese vs. Korean, and Hispanic vs. Korean accented English.

Participants (N = 93) included college instructors at an urban university in Florida. Statistical analysis results suggested that college instructors in this study exhibited some bias towards speakers of Hispanic-accented English, but no bias toward the other five. However, analysis of the frequency distributions of the responses showed bi-polar accent biases did exist. It was possible that the similar numbers for the polar opposites balanced each other in the statistical results of no bias. Gender and home language background had no effect on implicit preference scores. The years of teaching experience had significant effect in Hispanic- vs. Korean-accented English, but not in the other five accented language pairs. However, close examination of the beta coefficient per year indicated that the relationship was weak even though the effect was significant.

Faculty, administrators, and students could use test results as a topic of discussion in faculty development, teaching assistant training, student services, and diversity training in higher education institutions. The discussions might help awareness of hidden-yet-present accent bias and prevent potential prejudice toward other accented English speakers.

The administrators need to be aware that preferences do exist toward accented English speakers. These preferences--or biases--toward an accent may be important in selecting instructors.

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