Chapter in:Pragmatics of Accents
Edited by Gaëlle Planchenault and Livia Poljak
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 327] 2021
► pp. 85–114
‘Could I have an appointment for a viewing?’
Language-based discrimination and apartment searches with different accents in Germany
This paper represents a novel approach to the study of discrimination in the housing market. Beginning with detailed discourse analyses of several excerpts of apartment application conversations, it highlights how Standard German, Standard American and Turkish accents interact and how power relations are reproduced on a micro-level through interruptions and repair initiations. Furthermore, it includes the statistical report of the viewing appointments resulting from almost 300 phone calls placed in four different city districts of the city of Bremen, Germany, with Turkish, Standard American, and German names and accents. The neighborhoods, not the city per se, are a crucial aspect for predicting linguistic discrimination: in the more prestigious neighborhood, Turkish accented callers had significantly lower chances of receiving a viewing. In all but one city district, the Standard German callers received the most viewing appointments, and the American English accented callers had more chances than the Turkish callers speaking Standard German.
Keywords: discourse analysis, mixed methods, conversation analysis, linguistic profiling, high and low prestige accents
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