Social class in speech
The article below tells us that we all speak in a way that tends to indicate our background. In particular, whether we are upper class, lower class or in between is detectible from our speech.
The study is an American one but I doubt that many Britons will be surprised by it. In Britain, an "Oxford" or "RP" accent is the mark of the upper class person and below that there are various regional accents of varied significance -- with Cockney (a London working class accent) being the lowest of the low. Regional accents are also well known in the USA of course.
And in both the USA and the UK, your accent has a major impact on your life chances. The best and most lucrative jobs will normally be occupied by people with prestigious accents. And for anyone with a humble background to break into that is virtually impossible. It would simply "grate" on upper class people to associate daily with (say) a cockney accent. There is a loophole, however. You can change your accent to a more prestigious one. Many do.
So what is new about the article below? We surely knew all along that our speech gives away a lot about us. The relative novelty was the finding that class can be detected in your writing style as well. And that, I think, is very interesting indeed. Because I think that it is probably complexity that is being detected. The lower class person can be expected to use fewer words, mostly common words and simpler sentence structure. That should be easily detected but I cannot see what else would be.
But verbal ability is strongly correlated with IQ. The more words you know, the smarter you generally are. I like the word "inchoate" as a test of that. Do you know what that means? If you do, take a bow.
So we come back to the now well-supported generalization that social class is largely an IQ gradient. See e.g. here and here. The top people are smarter. The recruiter who assesses a job applicant by his speech is not being arbitrary. He is seeking more intelligent employees, which will be generally advantageous. He is doing a good job of personnel selection.
That is a very different interpretation of the results below. Intelligence is strongly inherited and Leftists hate that. They hate a lot of things. And the traditional Marxist way of coping with that is to use the word "reproduced"' -- which you will see in the heading below.
To account for the fact that some arrangement is persistent from generation to generation, Marxists don't regard that as natural in any way. They say that the arrangement has to be "reproduced". And they go about earnestly looking for HOW it is reproduced. They look for things that people do which cause the same thing to emerge in a second and third generation. And it is always due to the machinations of evil men, of course. The idea that a smart person mostly has smart kids willy nilly is rejected by the Marxist. He thinks that the smart man gets smart kids by sending them to private schools etc. So if you abolish the private schools, all men will be equal.
So in the article below the authors don't regard the class-detection of the recruiter as being reasonable and natural but rather see it as an unjust strategy of devious complexity that unfairly disadvantages lower class people. Therefore the recruiter must "unlearn" his wrong procedures and abandon his biases.
So there are two very different lessons that can be learned from the findings below. I think that nothing needs to be done, whereas the Leftist thinks the whole thing is wrong, wrong, wrong and is in urgent need of reform.
Evidence for the reproduction of social class in brief speech
Michael W. Kraus et al.
Economic inequality is at its highest point on record and is linked to poorer health and well-being across countries. The forces that perpetuate inequality continue to be studied, and here we examine how a person’s position within the economic hierarchy, their social class, is accurately perceived and reproduced by mundane patterns embedded in brief speech. Studies 1 through 4 examined the extent that people accurately perceive social class based on brief speech patterns. We find that brief speech spoken out of context is sufficient to allow respondents to discern the social class of speakers at levels above chance accuracy, that adherence to both digital and subjective standards for English is associated with higher perceived and actual social class of speakers, and that pronunciation cues in speech communicate social class over and above speech content. In study 5, we find that people with prior hiring experience use speech patterns in preinterview conversations to judge the fit, competence, starting salary, and signing bonus of prospective job candidates in ways that bias the process in favor of applicants of higher social class. Overall, this research provides evidence for the stratification of common speech and its role in both shaping perceiver judgments and perpetuating inequality during the briefest interactions.