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MMC Students Challenge Linguistic Stereotypes in Interactive Pop-Up Museum

December 18, 2019
  • The pop-up museum's five different projects focused on specific linguistic stereotypes, including the notion that southerns think northerners are rude.
  • This team assessed the stereoptype that male voices are more authoritative.
  • This team evaluated Americans' reactions toward the sound of the Arabic language.
  • Students discussing their research on "baby talk" with museum visitor.
  • A research duo discussing their work on New York accents with Linda Solomon, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology.
MMC’s College Honors Program (CHP) students enrolled in SPCH 318, Language and Culture, debuted an interactive campus exhibit featuring five research projects on specific speech-related stereotypes.

This semester’s course was taught by Susan Behrens, Ph.D., Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders, who regularly requires students in the class to complete field work. “For the Honors section, I felt we should kick it up a notch and present to the MMC community,” explains Behrens. “These students have been working on their projects since the beginning of the semester, learning about linguistic stereotypes and the social implications they have. In pairs, students worked on finding a stereotype near and dear to their hearts that they wanted to challenge.” 

According to Behrens, the groups approached their projects through three venues; library research, field work and surveying, and designing an interactive presentation.

The five projects evaluated the following; 

  • Authority and perception levels between male and female voices
  • Perceptions and misconceptions of New York City accents 
  • The use of “baby talk” and its effects on language development in children
  • American perceptions to the sound of Arabic
  • Profanity and regional differences between the American South and North

Congratulations to all involved!