Pre-Service Teacher Attitudes Toward Differing Dialects

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In order to evaluate pre-service teachers' attitudes toward differing dialects, 111 students at a small Alabama university were asked to provide demographic data (including gender, race, age, and socioeconomic status) and to respond to five readers representing a variety of dialects common to the region. Respondents were asked to rate readers on the qualities of intelligence, friendliness, consideration, education, trustworthiness, ambition, honesty, and social status. The results indicate that listeners do evaluate speakers' personal characteristics on the basis of dialect and that race is a factor in the perception of language, since white respondents were most favorable to white speakers and least favorable to black speakers and black respondents were most favorable to black speakers and least to white speakers. Directions for further study are noted.

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