You are here: Home Publications Language, culture, and group membership: An investigation into the social effects of colloquial Australian English

Language, culture, and group membership: An investigation into the social effects of colloquial Australian English

Kidd, E., Kemp, N., Kashima, E. S., & Quinn, S. (2016). Language, culture, and group membership: An investigation into the social effects of colloquial Australian English. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 47(5), 713-733. doi:10.1177/0022022116638175.
Languages are strong markers of social identity. Multiple features of language and speech, from accent to lexis to grammatical constructions, mark speakers as members of specific cultural groups. In the current article, we present two confederate-scripted studies that investigated the social effects of the Australian hypocoristic use (e.g., uggie, uni, derro)—a lexical category emblematic of Australian culture. Participants took turns with a confederate directing each other through locations on a map. In their directions, the confederate used either hypocoristic (e.g., uni) or standard forms (e.g., university). The confederate’s cultural group membership and member prototypicality were manipulated by ethnic background and accent: In a highly prototypical in-group condition, the confederate had an Anglo-Celtic background and Australian English (AusE) accent; in a low prototypical in-group condition, the confederate had an Asian background and AusE accent; and in the out-group condition, the confederate had an Asian background and non-AusE accent. Hypocoristic use resulted in significantly higher participant-rated perceived common ground with the confederate when the confederate was an in-group but not an out-group member, which in some instances was moderated by in-group identification. The results suggest that like accents, culturally significant lexical categories function as markers of in-group identity, which influence perceived social closeness during interaction.
About MPI

This is the MPI

The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics is an institute of the German Max Planck Society. Our mission is to undertake basic research into the psychological,social and biological foundations of language. The goal is to understand how our minds and brains process language, how language interacts with other aspects of mind, and how we can learn languages of quite different types.

The institute is situated on the campus of the Radboud University. We participate in the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, and have particularly close ties to that institute's Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging. We also participate in the Centre for Language Studies. A joint graduate school, the IMPRS in Language Sciences, links the Donders Institute, the CLS and the MPI.

 

Street address
Wundtlaan 1
6525 XD Nijmegen
The Netherlands


Mailing address
P.O. Box 310
6500 AH Nijmegen
The Netherlands

Phone:   +31-24-3521911
Fax:        +31-24-3521213
E-mail:   


Public Outreach Officer
Charlotte Horn