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Implicit-explicit attitudinal discrepancy and the investigation of language attitude change in progress

McKenzie, RM and Carrie, E (2018) Implicit-explicit attitudinal discrepancy and the investigation of language attitude change in progress. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development. ISSN 0143-4632

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Abstract

Socio-psychological research has frequently reported low correlations between explicit and implicit attitude measures for a range of socially sensitive topics. There is mounting evidence that implicit and explicit evaluations do not change at the same rate and thus any implicit-explicit attitudinal discrepancy (IED) may indicate attitude change in progress. However, researchers have yet to investigate whether differences between implicit and explicit attitudes towards language use can determine the direction of any language attitude change underway; somewhat surprising given recent evidence indicating that community language attitude change can result in micro-level language change over time. The present study employed an Implicit Association Test (IAT) and self-report attitude scale to measure the relationship between 90 English nationals' implicit and explicit ratings of Northern English and Southern English speech in England. Multivariate analysis demonstrated significant implicit-explicit attitudinal discrepancy, providing evidence of language attitude change in progress, led by younger females, with explicit attitudes changing more rapidly towards a greater tolerance of the English spoken in the north of England. The paper discusses the potential contribution of investigating implicit and explicit language attitudes to help account for the persistence of deeply embedded linguistic prejudice, as well as to measure language attitude change in progress.

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