Welcome to The Accentism Project.
Accentism is a term which refers to linguistic discrimination (see also ‘linguicism’ and ‘languagism’). In the sense that we are using it here, it describes any situation in which an individual feels as though they have been unfairly judged, treated, or commented on because of the way they speak, write, and communicate more broadly.
This project has the aim of uncovering and challenging such discrimination in everyday life. The site provides the opportunity for people to share their own stories and experiences of language-based bias, prejudice, and discrimination.
The site also offers information, resources, and current research on topics around the issue of accentism in an attempt to raise awareness of what is often described as one of the last socially acceptable forms of prejudice. Importantly, language-based judgements are more often than not a proxy for other forms of prejudice and discrimination (such as classism and racism), including those characteristics which are protected by law. Given that our identities are enacted through language, along with other symbolic resources, our language use becomes a means by which others make judgements about us. The information and resources available here demonstrate that users of language varieties and linguistic features deemed ‘non-standard’, ‘regional’, and ‘foreign’ – among others – frequently encounter bias, prejudice, and discrimination. This happens in every sphere of our daily lives; in the workplace, in the classroom, and even in the courtroom.
In 2019, the project leads were interviewed by Laura Paterson for the Journal of Language and Discrimination. A transcript can be found here.