“I like going to the bitch”: Konglish (Korean-English) and Perception

Chen Chang, Jennifer Eom, Kanghyun Lee, Lavinia Lee, Cynthia Ortiz

“I can make the PowerPoint, but, uhmm…can you do the oral presentation for me?”

Due to pronunciation unfamiliarities in the English language, ESL (English as Second Language) speakers may sometimes develop apprehensiveness and insecurities towards their oral speaking skills. This is not an intrinsic response but rather an extrinsic consequence — people in the United States tend to perceive ESL speakers as less credible and less intelligent compared to standard American-accented English speakers. As the number of Korean international students in the United States increases over time, it is observed that some of the Korean ESL speakers are facing such discrimination as well. Hence, this project contains two parts of survey to serve the purpose of collecting and analyzing data relating to how Korean ESL speakers in the United States are being perceived; as well as to demonstrate the difference in credibility and intelligence level that “having an accent” can cause. Although this research project may be conducted on a relatively small scale and there exist some limitations and potential biases; the results may come out to be less significant than it is projected to be — there is little difference between a native speaker and a Korean ESL speaker in terms of perceived intelligence level and credibility; however, the scale of such inequity currently happening in this society is inevitably, very substantial.

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