Go Native or Go Home: A Linguistic Analysis of Beliefs About Accents

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date



College of Arts and Sciences


English Department

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Gail Shuck


As the population of Boise State University became more diverse, there has been an increase in discriminatory events. A recent and clearly xenophobic event in one of the residence halls at BSU has caused controversy since it was almost unprecedented. A place where anyone is supposed to feel at home might not be true at all, especially for certain people. Events like this are clearly discriminatory, but perhaps a more subtle way that demonstrates an underlying xenophobic ideology is shown by people’s attitudes toward dialects and accents different than their own, especially those from people who learned English as a Second Language. This research will analyze the different ideologies surrounding multilingual and multi-dialectical people and how people feel about them. By using a sociolinguistic approach, different ideologies will be studied to further explore the reasons behind linguistic identity and racial discrimination and how they are connected. Through an anonymous survey where residents and residential leaders are asked to rate different dialects, this presentation will infer what elements are at play when people judge other dialects, especially those that sound foreign. This research would not only answer questions about implicit biases but will try to answer how people react to diverse linguistic features of those who are not native to this state, focusing in the educational and housing environments.

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