Electronic Theses and Dissertations


Shima Farhesh



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Committee Chair

Rebecca Adams

Committee Member

Katherine Fredlund

Committee Member

Romy Ghanem

Committee Member

Sage Graham


Linguistic stereotyping research posits that native speaker favor standard variety speakers which results in discrimination against non-native speakers (Rubin 2002, Kang & Rubin, 2009). However, it may be possible to improve native speaker attitudes towards accented speech, and through that, accented speakers. Research on improving native speakers’ (NSs) attitudes toward non-native speakers (NNSs) suggests that direct exposure through interpersonal contact (Kang et al., 2015) and indirect exposure may both decrease prejudice towards marginalized groups (Rani & Samuel, 2019). Little is known, however, about the relative effectiveness of different interventions such as video interventions (Multimedia group), intergroup contact through International Teaching Assistants (ITAs’ group), and perspective taking reading and writing tasks (Perspective Taking group) on Southern American NSs’ perception toward L1-accented speech on enhancing positive perceptions of L1-accented speech. This study adopts an intervention approach to investigate how NSs’ exposure to L2 speech may affect their perception toward NNSs’ oral productions. The study took place in a Southern university. Through Qualtrics survey, NS listeners used a speech evaluation instrument (SEI) to rate superiority, social attractiveness, and dynamism (Zahn & Hopper, 1985) of four unidentified female speakers (with similar intelligibility and comprehensibility) from the US, Bangladesh, Brazil, and Saudi Arabia based on audio recordings. After filling out the pre-test survey, listeners participated in three treatment sessions one group received exposure to L2 speech through contact with ITAs, the second group was exposed to Perspective Taking reading and writing interventions using multilingual writers’ works (Perspective Taking group), the third group was exposed to L2 speakers via video interventions featuring educated multilingual speakers (Multimedia group), and the control group received no intervention. To track any changes in participants’ attitude toward L1-accented speakers, the post-test survey was administered again to all four groups. Post hoc analyses revealed significant differences in the speaker ratings of the Multimedia Group for the superiority, social attractiveness, and dynamism of Spanish, Bangla, and Arab accented speakers. Consequently, findings suggest that multimedia intervention may be the most effective intervention for improving NSs’ attitude toward L1-accented speech. Findings of this study allow for deeper understanding of how indirect exposure to L2 speech can reduce language-based discrimination. With the increasing number of international individuals in professional and academic settings, it is necessary to recognize and reduce prejudice toward such speakers. The results of this study may benefit US undergraduate curriculum developers, instructors, and the overall student population.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest.


Open access