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“She does have an accent but…”: Race and language ideology in students' evaluations of mathematics instructors on

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 January 2015

Nicholas Close Subtirelu*
Department of Applied Linguistics and ESL, Georgia State University, P.O. Box 4099, Atlanta, GA 30302-4099,


Nonnative English speakers (NNESs) who teach at English-medium institutions in the United States (US) have frequently been the subject of student complaints. Research into language ideologies concerning NNESs in the US suggests that such complaints can be understood as manifestations of a broader project of social exclusion operating, in part, through the ideological construction of the NNES as incomprehensible Other. The present study explores the extent to which such ideological presuppositions and exaggerative performances are observable in students' evaluations of ‘Asian’ mathematics instructors on the website (RMP). A mixed methodological approach combining statistical analysis of numeric RMP ratings, quantitative corpus linguistic techniques, and critical discourse analysis was employed. Findings confirm the presence of disadvantages related to ‘Asian’ instructors' race and language. However, RMP users' discourse is shown to be less overtly discriminatory and instead to reproduce dominant language ideology in subtle, previously undescribed ways.(Student evaluations, higher education, university teaching, nonnative speakers, second language users, ethnicity, critical discourse analysis, corpus linguistics, formulaic language)*

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2015 

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