Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects


Communication Sciences and Disorders

Document Type



With over 1300 international students from more than 70 countries, Western Kentucky University prides itself on being a diverse, welcoming community. However, many international students have a tendency to associate with other international students with similar dialects rather than with English-speaking students from the United States. This research explores the relationship between dialect density (how strongly a dialect or accent is expressed) and social interaction of individuals from the international student population on Western Kentucky University’s campus. Results revealed that the international students who had the mildest self-perceived dialect density had high self-perceived social interaction scores. Results also indicated that the international students who felt most comfortable interacting with American English speakers were also the students who indicated the most social interaction with them. These results suggest that social interaction with native speakers is primarily dependent on personal confidence and comfortability, rather than on objective features of speech such as rate and dialect density. Further research is needed to determine how dialect density and other factors may create communication barriers between native and nonnative speakers.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Dr. Janice Smith, Dr. Leigh Anne Roden-Carrier, Dr. Elizabeth Gish


Communication | International and Area Studies | Linguistics | Speech Pathology and Audiology