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Abstract

This paper reports a meta-analysis of the empirical literature on the effects of speakers' accents on interpersonal evaluations. Our review of the published literature uncovered 20 studies that have compared the effects of standard accents (i.e., the accepted accent of the majority population) versus non-standard accents (i.e., accents that are considered foreign or spoken by minorities) on evaluations about the speakers. These 20 studies yielded 116 independent effect sizes on an array of characteristics that were selected by the original researchers. We classified each of the characteristics as belonging to one of three domains that have been traditionally discussed in this area, namely status (e.g., intelligence, social class), solidarity (trustworthiness, in-group–out-group member), and dynamism (level of activity and liveliness). The effect was particularly strong when American Network accented speakers were compared with non–standard-accented speakers. These results underscore prior research showing that speakers' accents have powerful effects on how others perceive them. These and other results are discussed in the context of the literature along with implications for future research in this area. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.