Results are presented of an experiment involving the reactions toward accented speakers by immigrated native and near-native proficient English speakers from the same Spanish-speaking ethnolinguistic background. It was hypothesized that: (1) the negative reactions of listeners reflected an observable association with a geographic location such as the host society, neighborhood, or even a street; and (2) Spanish speakers from other countries posed a threat to their language counterparts from other Latin American origins, particularly those ensconced within majority concentrations. It was thought that English proficient Hispanic subjects from the sparsely represented areas would react less negatively toward accented speakers than those from highly represented ones. A total of 84 subjects with an average age of 25 were studied. Among the 28 variables were gender, marital status, educational levels, and ethnicity of subjects as well as spouses. A number of dependent variables appeared to show significant interrelationships; e.g., opinions by Mexican and Puerto Rican subjects from majority neighborhoods about the socioeconomic status of different ethnic origin limited-English-proficient (LEP) speakers significantly correlated with expressions of trust, comfort, and judgments. Overall, the findings from the study support the existence of a negative affect arousal mechanism through observations regarding the devaluation of speakers from other Spanish ethnic origins. Additional research is warranted to explore the characteristics associated with negative affect arousal and resulting behaviors within other ethnolinguistic groups. Contains 10 references. (LB)
Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Intercultural and International Communication Conference (8th, Miami, FL, February 1991).