Date: Thu, 8 Feb 1996 12:21:52 -0500


Subject: deceiving appearances

thanks to those who helped out on my plea for the source of a

_chronic of higher ed_ article on perceptions of foreign t.a.

accents. i've now discovered why i couldn't find it in the

_chronicle_: the article was in _lingua franca_ (nov/dec 93). and

instead of filing it under "language and racism", i'd filed it under

phonology. it was just pure luck that today i was looking for

phonology bulletin-board material and found it. the study was by

donald rubin of univ. of georgia.

for those who are interested, a study on race-effects in teacher

perception of students' communication abilities (to turn the tables)

by williams (1973) is discussed in fasold's _sociolinguistics of

society_--so there are a couple of citations on prejudice-influences

on comprehension.

back on the anecdotal level, i've a chinese-american friend from the

chicago suburbs whose mechanical engineering students at illinois

write on her evaluations that her chinese accent is too strong (she

is a monolingual english speaker). here, i found that if i apologize

for my american accent, the ESL students complain that they can't

understand me because of my accent. if i don't apologize, they

don't realize that i'm not south african and do not check the "can't

understand because of accent" box on my evaluation forms. (but even

stranger are the numbers of native english speakers here who think

i'm british, australian, german, or insist that i must be canadian

because americans don't talk like me.)

thanks everyone for your help.