Accent racism and linguistic stereotyping - how can they be avoided?

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Students studying
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A recent University of Liverpool project states that accent racism and linguistic stereotyping are present in higher education and discusses ways in which they can be avoided. The project is in tune with other current national research findings. The Guardian reported earlier this month on how research has shown that ‘bias against working-class and regional accents has not gone away’. Whilst the BBC reported that ‘one in four have accents mocked at work,’ based on UK research from Queen Mary University London.

The University of Liverpool’s project created a staff course in the form of a podcast series, following which listeners can fill out a questionnaire to check their understanding.

In podcast episode 'Language, race and HE', Dr Vijay Ramjattan from the University of Toronto discusses how racism is multi-sensory and that accent bias can be an auditory expression of racism. In 'Why don’t we believe non-native speakers', Dr Shiri Lev-Ari discusses her research in the USA and UK of how people are more likely to distrust non-native speakers’ statements.  Dr Shiri Lev-Ari states that increasing people’s exposure to non-native speakers could help mitigate this distrust.

Visit the project page and podcast series to learn more about 'Accent racism, linguistic stereotyping and ethnic accent bullying in HE: What is it and how can we avoid it?'

This project was organised by the Centre for Teaching Excellence in Language Learning and funded by the Equality Project Kick Start Fund by the University of Liverpool.