Teachers-in-Training and the Policing of Language Variation

Jos Swanenberg*, Anne Kerkhoff, Petra Poelmans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in book/volumeChapterScientificpeer-review


In the domains of education and labor, we may expect to be assessed on competences and capacities. Alas, stereotyping and prejudice hinder this for people from peripheral areas and marginalized groups. One of the important factors in this is their language. Why does speaking with an accent diminish one’s opportunities in the job market or the achievements in one’s school career? Why are some accents better than other accents? In a pilot study at a teacher training college we addressed the question if future teachers of Dutch may or may not speak with an accent in the class room. Apparently, speaking with an accent will be tolerated by future teachers of Dutch, but it depends on which accent one uses. Indigenous accents are evaluated more positively than foreign accents, especially those we associate with labor migration. Although diversity in the pronunciation of Dutch may have increased, the social acceptance of accents is quite selective. Adolescents have to deal with stigmatized representations when people hear and assess their accents. Tolerance towards speaking with an accent is limited, and this may damage the position of young people from the countryside and specific ethnic groups.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLanguage Policy(Netherlands)
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

NameLanguage Policy(Netherlands)
ISSN (Print)1571-5361


  • Accent
  • Education
  • Evaluation
  • Language attitudes
  • Stereotypes


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