Abstract

Dialects of English spoken in rural, Southern Appalachia are heavily stigmatized in mainstream American culture, and speakers of Appalachian dialects are often subject to prejudice and stereotypes which can be detrimental in educational settings. We explored the experiences of rural, Southern Appalachian college students and the role speaking a stigmatized dialect has in their interactions with others on campus. Semistructured interviews were conducted with students from rural, Southern Appalachia attending a 4-year university in a Southern city, and sociolinguistic analysis of participants’ speech was performed to provide detailed linguistic description that helped explain the influence of language on these interactions. Findings suggest that interactions with peers and faculty are influenced by students’ dialect on several levels. The findings have implications for improving diversity and inclusion programming on campus as well as highlighting the importance of research that considers language as a differentiating student characteristic in higher education research and practice.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1543-3382
Print ISSN
0897-5264
Pages
pp. 47-64
Launched on MUSE
2016-02-01
Open Access
No
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