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The Ears Have It: Judging People By The Way They Talk

Robert & Mihaela Vicol, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18653150

People find many ways to judge each other in life, especially upon first meeting. Your skin, your hair, your clothing; all of these can be factors in how other people form their first impressions.

There's one we haven't mentioned, and it's a big one: the way you speak. Psychologist Katherine Kinzler says judging people by accents and other features of speech can become a significant social justice issue.

She lays out the case in How You Say It: Why You Talk the Way You Do—And What It Says About You. We get into code-switching and other practices in a conversation with the author.

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The Jefferson Exchange is Jefferson Public Radio's daily talk show focused on news and interests across our region of Southern Oregon and Northern California. Angela Decker is the senior producer, Charlie Zimmermann is the assistant producer, and Geoffrey Riley hosts the show.