TESL Canada Journal, Volume 20, Issue 2, 2003

A Primer on Accent Discrimination in the Canadian Context

Murray J. Munro


Negative attitudes toward foreign-accented speech have led to discrimination against second-language users in Canada. This article reviews aspects of the Canadian human rights process as they pertain to language and accent, and identifies three types of accent discrimination arising in human rights cases: discrimination in employment due to inappropriate concern with accent, discrimination due to accent stereotyping, and harassment based on accent. It is argued that ESL teachers can work to stop this kind of discrimination by developing an understanding of the role of accent in communication and by promoting informed attitudes toward second-language users' speech, in both the classroom and the community.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.18806/tesl.v20i2.947

ISSN: 0826-435X
Online ISSN: 1925-8917 

TESL Canada Journal is indexed in CBCA Education (Canadian Education Index), EBSCO, ERIC, The Gale Group, and H.W. Wilson