Cecily Corbett

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This study investigates whether there is a relationship between the native Spanish “Rater” evaluative reactions of Spanish spoken by second-language learners, called “Talkers,” based on the distance of their first language from Spanish. The Talkers’ first languages are grouped by distance from Spanish: close (Brazilian Portuguese and French), mid (Serbian and Polish), and far (Korean and Chinese). The Raters (n=50) are played recordings of the six Talkers reading the same story in Spanish and they are asked to rate each Talker on a 7-point Likert scale in 15 different categories (e.g. unintelligent/intelligent, easy/difficult to understand, and outgoing/shy). Results show statistically significant differences in the ratings in 13 of the 15 categories based on language distance. Talkers of close languages are rated as being the most intelligent, sophisticated, hardworking, educated, wealthy, fluent, reliable, friendly, open-minded, and outgoing (all p ≤ 0.010). Conversely, the Talkers of distant languages are rated as being unsophisticated, difficult to understand, beginning in Spanish, poor, serious, not fluent, unreliable, and shy. In addition, results show that Raters are most likely to make judgments in the categories that related to the Talkers’ Spanish competence (ease of understanding, level of Spanish, accentedness, and fluency) and most hesitant to make judgments in the categories of wealth, openmindedness, friendliness, and trustworthiness.



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