Subjective reactions to the Antioque�no dialect in Columbia : a sociolinguistic examination of stigma in a selected speech community

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Gomez-Jimenez, Luis F.
Davis, Lawrence M.
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Thesis (Ph. D.)
Department of English
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The subjective reactions of listeners from various backgrounds to speech varieties used in Medellin, Colombia, were investigated using the matched-guise technique with a series of measuring scales. In all three dimensions of a semantic differential scale-namely, competence, personal integrity, and social attractiveness-Non-Antioqueno Dialect (NAD) speakers were rated significantly higher than Antioqueno Dialect (AD) speakers regardless of the sex or the dialect of the subject, or the sex of the speaker. In the case of social attractiveness, however, for female subjects the difference between NAD speakers and AD speakers was somewhat larger than for the male subjects.The evaluations of male speakers were significantly higher than those of female speakers regardless of the sex of the subject, the dialect of the subject, or the dialect of the speaker. For AD subjects the difference in ratings between male and female speakers was about the same for male and female subjects; however, for NAD female subjects this difference was somewhat larger than for the NAD male subjects.In general, the evaluations of speakers by different age groups indicated a significant difference, between older and younger subjects. The younger subjects rated speakers significantly lower. than the older subjects did for all three variables of evaluation, that is, competence, personal integrity and social attractiveness.While no significant effect was found for socio-economic status (SES) non the variables of personal integrity and social attractiveness, SES was found to have a significant effect on evaluations of competence. In this dimension of evaluation, lowermiddle class subjects rated speakers significantly differently from the middle-middle class and the upper-middle class subjects. The former ranked speakers higher on competence than the middle-middle class and the upper-middle class subjects did.Finally, subjects assigned prestigious professions to NAD speakers, while only non-prestigious occupations were matched with the AD speakers. Additionally, the proportion of times male speakers were judged to have a prestigious occupation was significantly higher than the proportion of times female speakers were judged so.Within the theoretical framework of this study, differential reactions to the guises assumed by the speakers were interpreted as revealing differential attitudes towards the speech varieties. The evaluations are taken to be attitudes not only toward the speakers themselves, but also toward the language forms of the varieties involved.