Discrimination against people who speak English with a nonstandard accent or nonstandard grammar is called “linguistic prejudice.” Despite sounding relatively benign, it has a severe impact on people throughout their lives, starting in kindergarten and reaching into searches for housing or employment and interactions with the justice system.
Exploring the Impact of Age, Race, and Stereotypes on Perceptions of Language Performance and Patronizing Speech.
Academic Article: Atkinson, Jaye L., and Robin G. Sloan. “Exploring the Impact of Age, Race, and Stereotypes on Perceptions of Language Performance and Patronizing Speech.” Journal of Language & Social Psychology, vol. 36, no. 3, June 2017, pp. 287–305.
Two experiments tested whether age and racial stereotypes influence communication. Specifically, both studies sought to understand if older African American targets would experience a communicative double jeopardy. In the first experiment, participants assessed targets’ language performance and beliefs about their own speech style (i.e., patronizing speech style). Age (participant and target) interacted with stereotype to influence ratings of language competence, and an interaction of target race, stereotype, and participant age influenced the elicitation of patronizing speech. In the second experiment, participants assessed communication competence and patronizing speech. Age groups of the targets and the participants, rather than racial groups, significantly influenced perceptions of both ratings of communication competence and the adoption of a patronizing speech style. Implications for the Age Stereotype in Interaction Model of intergenerational communication and future research on intersectionality are discussed.