1st Edition

All English Accents Matter In Pursuit of Accent Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

By Pierre Orelus Copyright 2023

    Orelus' valuable study draws on the scholarly work of sociocultural and postcolonial theorists, as well as testimonies collected from study participants, to explore accentism, the systemic form of discrimination against speakers whose accents deviate from a socially constructed norm.

    Orelus examines the manner in which accents are acquired and the effects of such acquisition on the learning and educational experiences of linguistically and culturally diverse students. He goes on to demonstrate the ways and the degree to which factors such as race, class, and country of origin are connected with nonstandard accent-based discrimination. Finally, this book proposes alternative ways to challenge and counter the accentism that minority groups, including linguistically and culturally diverse groups, have faced in schools and in society at large.

    It will be of interest to all of those concerned with linguistic/accent-based prejudice and the experience of those who face it.



    Foreword by John Baugh

    Chapter 1. The Coloniality of Western Language Hegemony

    Chapter 2. Other People’s English Accents Matter

    Chapter 3. Affirming English Accent Variation

    Chapter 4. Linguistic and Racial Inequities in Higher Education

    Chapter 5. In Pursuit of Accent Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

    Chapter 6. Exposing the Effects of Linguolelitism on Linguistic Minorities




    Dr. Pierre Wilbert Orelus is associate professor at Fairfield University and past chair of the Educational Studies and Teacher Preparation department, where he is faculty and the director of the Teaching and Foundation master’s program. His research is intersectional examining ways in which race, language, and class interweave to affect people’s lives in general and student learning in particular, often in ways that go unnoticed. His most recent books include Unschooling Racism (Springer, 2020) and How It Feels to Be Black in the USA (Brill, 2022).

    "This book is an excellent contribution, especially because Orelus generates new language and conceptual knowledge, such as accentism and linguoelitism, to address, speak of, and write about language discrimination in ways that will be very useful to educators and scholars in many fields and disciplines." -- Luis Urrieta, Jr., University of Texas at Austin, USA

     "Accents matter. All of us have one or more, but some accents are made invisible while others become the grounds for discrimination and exclusion. In this important and strongly-argued book, Pierre Orelus shows how accent discrimination is linked to power, ethnicity, class and race, and why this matters deeply for schooling and social justice. " -- Alastair Pennycook, Distinguished Professor of Language, Society and Education, University of Technology Sydney

    "Languages, like people, fall into socially and historically constructed status hierarchies that advantage the few over the many and in the act damage humans and stifle creativity. Freeing language and people are much the same project and Pierre Orelus has long now been our best guide to understanding and hope in regard to linguistic liberation." -- James Paul Gee, Regents' Professor, Arizona State University

    "This book culminates with keen insights regarding the incontrovertible relationship between accent discrimination and political power, echoing Sam Weinreich’s edict that a standard language is defined by those who control military might. Illustrations of well-known public figures who speak with strong accents, while having achieved success, wealth, and public acclaim, are presented in stark contrast to others whose language belies their race, or gender, or sexual orientation. This book does more than expose this discriminatory legacy, it strives to alert us to the negative consequences of misplaced linguistic elitism and its divisive ramifications." -- John Baugh, from the foreword.