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Credibility without intelligibility: Implications for hearing vernacular speakers

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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to the Work of John R. Rickford
EditorsRenée Blake, Isabelle Buchstaller
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9780429427886
ISBN (Print)9781138370708
Publication statusPublished - 2019


We examine the perceived credibility of speakers of nonstandard varieties by focusing on the Scottish tourism economy. The pervasive language ideologies documented in previous work on speaker credibility have shown that vernacular speakers are typically considered both less intelligible and less credible than speakers of standard accents. Some work has argued that the link between intelligibility and credibility has a psycholinguistic basis, which is potentially augmented by social factors. Here we present a social context that contravenes the apparent naturalness of this link, where less intelligibility elicits greater speaker credibility. In highlighting its ideological nature we can advance understanding of linguistic discrimination towards vernacular speakers more generally.

    Research areas

  • sociolinguistics, social justice, intelligibility, tourism, accents, linguistic variation, social class, ethnicity, variation, English, credibility, Scotland

ID: 130139495