Language Ideologies and Behavioral Attitudes Toward Ethnolinguistic Outgroups: Perceived Linguistic Competence and Intergroup Anxiety as Explanatory Variables

Gretchen Montgomery-Vestecka, Yan Bing Zhang


Guided by language ideology research and the theoretical model of intergroup anxiety, the current study (N = 582) manipulated two ideological perspectives on language (i.e., L2 English as an asset vs. deficit) and tested the direct effects on U.S. American, L1 English users’ perceptions of L2 English users’ linguistic competence and the indirect effects of the same on intergroup anxiety and behavioral attitudes toward L2 English users. Results indicated that participants in the asset condition perceived L2 English users as more linguistically competent, leading to less intergroup anxiety and consequently more positive behavioral attitudes toward L2 English users than their counterparts in the deficit condition. Overall, this study suggests the positive intervening role of an inclusive, asset-based approach to language ideology (as compared with deficit and/or standard language approaches) in promoting intergroup attitudes through enhanced perceptions of linguistic competence and reduced anxiety toward ethnolinguistic outgroups.


language ideology, linguistic competence, intergroup anxiety, behavioral attitudes

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