Document Type : Original Article


The Ohio State University, USA


To the best of our knowledge, this is the first sociolinguistic matched-guise experiment that examined Chinese students’ attitudes toward African American English in both its standard and vernacular variants. This pilot study explored Chinese students’ implicit bias —if any— toward African American English compared to white American English. For this purpose, seventy-two undergraduate Chinese students pursuing their studies in the US rated standard and vernacular English recordings of a White American female speaker and an African American female speaker. To optimize the validity of this experiment, two non-guises were included as distractors. The findings suggest that the participants held a more positive attitude toward White American English. Interestingly, female respondents rated the African American guise slightly higher than their male counterparts. Finally, when the African American speaker’s teaching-related traits were rated, participants favored the standard over the vernacular recording. In sum: the findings suggest that respondents might have an existing/emerging implicit bias toward the African American speaker.