The competence of the professional standard language speaker in flux? Support from the speech therapy context

Eline Zenner, Stefan Grondelaers, Laura Rosseel, Dirk Speelman, Marie Esselinckx, Ellen Rombouts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This paper pressure tests the claim that professional speakers who use the standard language are perceived as more competent, by (1) unpacking ‘competence’; (2) disentangling the discursive complexity of ‘professional speech context’; (3) accounting for respondents' language socialization background. In our experiment, Belgian Dutch speech therapy students (N = 77) and a control group (N = 54) evaluate a speech therapist who does (not) use standard language in relational and transactional professional discourse. Results reveal (1) a more conservative versus a more dynamic conception of ‘competence’; (2) penalization of standard language use in informal speech; (3) slightly higher sociolinguistic sensitivity for speech therapy respondents. The perceived tolerance towards non-standard speech in high standard expectancy contexts begs a reconsideration of language ideology in professional communication.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalLanguage & Communication
Volume81
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • speaker evaluation
  • speech therapy
  • standard language ideology
  • competence
  • professional discourse
  • applied linguistics
  • sociolinguistics
  • social meaning
  • language attitudes
  • Dutch language variation

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