Discrimination Due to Nonnative Speech Production?

  • Maria Egbert


In 1999 I was a member of a team working on a pedagogical project in which we collected authentic telephone conversations in order to develop teaching materials for migrant workers in Germany designed to foster their interactional skills (Deutsch am Telefon 2001). We asked both native and nonnative speakers of German to record their telephone conversations. One call prompted spontaneous claims by several team members that the nonnative speaker was being discriminated against. In this call, a woman with an eastern European accent is inquiring about an apartment advertised for rent. The landlady rejects the caller’s request for viewing the apartment. My colleagues felt that the landlady’s account — the apartment is too small for a family with two children — is only a cover-up for her concealed racist attitude towards the caller. Our discussions in analysing the data did not yield agreement. The central issue of this chapter is whether the caller is being discriminated against.


Negative Attitude Native Speaker Rental Market Racist Attitude Storage Room 
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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Egbert

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