Language Attitudes and Linguistic Profiling among Micro-Enterprisers in Mexico
Brewer, Rebecca Ann
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This study examines the language attitudes of entrepreneurial students enrolled in the Academy for Creating Enterprise (ACE) in Mexico City toward six rural and urban varieties of Mexican Spanish to consider whether their attitudes towards these varieties influence their decisions about hiring. A verbal guise test and focus groups were used to determine the current attitudes held by 98 ACE students towards the popular and upper-class dialects of Mexico City; the urban dialect of M?rida, Yucatan; the urban dialect of Ciudad Ju?rez, Chihuahua; the urban dialect of Monterrey, Nuevo Le?n; and the rural dialect of San Jeronimito, Guerrero. It was determined that the ACE students, who are current and future entrepreneurs and employers, do engage in ?linguistic profiling? (Purnell et al., 1999), preferring the northern varieties of Spanish and the variety spoken by the upper class of Mexico City in all three dimensions of attractiveness, status, and hireability. These results indicate that speakers of the popular variety of Mexico City and the southern varieties of Yucat?n and Guerrero are less likely to be hired. In addition, the students? ratings of hireability were also influenced by the students? age, gender, business owner status, and exposure to the dialect in question. The students? level of income was found to be the most likely to influence the ratings of speaker attractiveness and status. This case study of current and future employers enrolled at ACE responds to a call for the application of language attitudes research (Edwards, 1982; Garrett, 2010) and provides a model for working with an organization. Based on these findings, it was determined that ACE should modify its curriculum to include explicit training regarding linguistic attitudes and hiring practices.