Why Do International Students Avoid Communicating with Americans?
We explore how the communication concerns of non-native English
speakers (NNS) and Americans relate to their perceptions of each other and
decisions to interact. NNS identified their concerns in communicating with
Americans, the perceived causes of their concerns, and the strategies they
would employ to address these concerns. Americans noted their perceptions
of NNS’ (heavy and mild) accents and identified factors that influence their
perceptions of NNS and decisions to communicate with NNS. Results
revealed that the more NNS attribute their communication concerns to
Americans’ bias, the more likely they would avoid interacting with
Americans. Results also suggested that Americans show a more favorable
attitude toward mild accent NNS. We discuss the implications these findings
have for international education and future research.