Academic Article: Colic-Peisker, Val, and Jim Hlavac. “Anglo-Australian and Non-Anglophone Middle Classes: ‘Foreign Accent’ and Social Inclusion.” Australian Journal of Social Issues (John Wiley & Sons, Inc. ), vol. 49, no. 3, July 2014, pp. 349–371.
Building on the concept of 'multicultural middle class', this paper explores social inclusion of professionally educated and employed non-Anglophone immigrants in Australia. We focus specifically on the perceptions and implications of 'foreign accent' in the interaction between two groups of middle-class Australians: non-Anglophone immigrants and Anglo-Australians. 'Non-Anglophone immigrants' are defined as those who arrived in Australia as adults, grew up speaking a language other than English, and therefore usually speak English with a 'foreign accent'. 'Anglo-Australians' are defined as people born in Australia who grew up in families/households where only English was spoken, therefore speaking with a 'native Australian' accent. Through a survey of a targeted sample of respondents, the two groups were asked about their intergroup communication, wider interaction (e.g., intermarriage, friendships and working together) and mutual perceptions. Our findings indicate high levels of agreement between the two groups that Anglophone/non-Anglophone communication is minimally hindered by comprehension problems due to foreign-accented speech and cultural differences. Although the positive picture that emerges may reflect specific experiences and attitudes of middle-class professionals and may not be generalisable, increased contact of the 'multicultural middle class' with its Anglo-Australian counterpart is likely to be a factor in dissociating foreign accent and negative stereotyping.