Journal of Language and Discrimination, Vol 3, No 2 (2019)

Linguistic discrimination across neighbourhoods : Turkish, US-American and German names and accents in urban apartment search

Inke Du Bois
Issued Date: 18 Dec 2019


This paper reports on the effects of foreign accents and names on the chance of receiving an apartment viewing in the city of Bremen in Germany. Almost 300 phone calls were placed in four different city districts with a Turkish, USAmerican and German name and accent and a Turkish name and Standard German. The analysis shows intra-urban differences: in the more prestigious neighbourhood, Turkish-accented callers had significantly lower chances of getting 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. A discourse analysis of an excerpt from an apartment application conversation shows how power relations are reproduced at a discourse level. Overall, this study confirms that gatekeeping selection processes via linguistic profiling can lead to the maintenance of ethnolinguistic boundaries and segregation within the city.

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DOI: 10.1558/jld.39973


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