Does Your Accent Affect How People Treat You? For Linguists, That’s A Big Question

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Photo: Metro State Linguist Tony Velasquez
Tony Velasquez is fluent in English and Spanish and has also studied German, French and Mandarin.

How does the way a person speaks impact others' perceptions of them? That's just one of the questions Tony Velasquez hopes to answer using linguistics. The recent Metropolitan State University of Denver graduate is on his way to Oxford University in England to work on his master's degree.

One area he'd like to focus on is socio-linguistics, for example, or how a person may be stereotyped or treated differently depending on their accent or dialect alone. Depending on who we're talking to, he says, we may use a different register, or maybe use contractions. We shape our words and language according to how we want the world to see us. Velasquez tackles many of these language issues in his blog, The Linguist's Notebook.