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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis and Dissertation-ISU Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


School of Communication

First Advisor

John R. Baldwin


Using the data collected from 223 respondents, this study examined American language attitudes towards the four major accents of South African English (SAfE) and several of their sub-varieties White South African English (cultivated, general, and broad/Afrikaans); Black South African English (acrolect and mesolect); Indian South African English; and Cape Flats English. Using an online audio-based verbal-guise technique survey, this study investigated the perceived extent and effect, similarity, foreign accent identification, and employment probability towards the seven varieties of SAfE in hypothetical employment scenario.

The results suggest that SAfE accents are perceived to possess positive language personality traits to an American listener; however, American respondents do perceive specific SAfE-accented varieties to be more similar to their own accent, and superior and more dynamic in relation to other SAfE-accented speakers. Additionally, the results demonstrate that American respondents generally identify a SAfE accent as foreign-accented speaker, yet, they do not correctly identify the speaker's country of origin.Furthermore, the results of the study indicate that having a particular SAfE accent, even if it is misidentified, could potentially serve as a basis for possible stereotyping and prejudice.

Keywords: Accents, Employment, Language Attitudes, Prejudice, South African English (SAfE), Stereotypes.


Imported from ProQuest GoatleySoan_ilstu_0092N_10725.pdf


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