Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Applied Communication Theory and Methodology


College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Ray, George

Subject Headings

Communication, International Relations, Language, Social Psychology


The present study used social identity theory as a framework in examining the evaluation of non-standard accented speakers from India and Nigeria and whose first language is English. Social identity theory explains one’s awareness that he/she is a member of a certain social group and that such group membership is of value to the individual. Accordingly, the study investigated how social identity influences listeners’ perceptions of non-standard accented speakers’ status, solidarity, and dynamism. And also, if Standard American English (SAE), Indian and Nigerian accents are perceived differently by listeners. A 3 (SAE, Indian accented English, and Nigerian accented English) ¿ 2 (introduction and no introduction) design was employed. 115 Participants from an urban university in the United States participated in an online survey. Participants were randomly assigned to listen to one of six speech samples in experimental conditions (SAE, Indian accent, Nigerian accent, SAE with introduction, Indian accent with introduction, and Nigerian accent with introduction). It was found that SAE, Indian, and Nigerian accents were not significantly evaluated differently in perceived status and dynamism. However, the three accents were evaluated differently in perceived solidarity. The Indian and Nigerian accents were rated higher on solidarity than the SAE. Also, Social identity did not play a significant role in the evaluation of the accents. The implications of this study are discussed in terms of accent attractiveness, interpersonal contact, stereotypes, and language attitudes.