There are approximately 360 million speakers of English as a first language and 900 million speakers of English as a second or foreign language. However, not everyone speaks English the same way. There are countless different accents people have when speaking English. For example, someone born and raised in Glasgow will have a different accent than someone who has German as their native language.
All these different accents are not neutral. Sociolinguistic research has shown that speakers associate using a certain accent with specific cognitive skills, personality, social status etc. This association is known as linguistic stereotypes. In the UK, people speaking RP are considered competent and unsociable, while speakers of rural accents are judged as being more friendly, trustworthy and less competent.
There is a plethora of research regarding the dynamics of these stereotypes in adult populations. However, there is a lack of research regarding how these stereotypes are learnt during language acquisition. Hence, the goal of this project is to map at what age children start developing this kind of linguistic stereotypes to accents. Furthermore, this study will also study what factors influence the onset of this development.