Now that we
have dealt briefly with the main issues concerning use of the matched guise technique in
language attitude studies, we can point out the following aspects:
the use of a direct or indirect methodology, which has caused a debate.
the possible appearance of stereotypes regarding the recorded linguistic varieties that do
not exist in practice;
the experimental nature of the technique;
criticism about the techniques monostylistic premise;
We shall now
propose a number of solutions to try and counterbalance these methodological shortcomings.
As regards the
first aspect (i), the use of indirect methodology like the matched guise technique
obtains a greater degree of personal introspection. This also involves less rational and,
hence, less conditioned, spontaneous and/or sincere responses.
343-44) himself provides the solution to the second issue (ii), bearing in mind
this possible methodological limitation:
technique has been developed that rather effectively calls out the stereotyped impressions
that members of one ethnic linguistic group hold of another contrasting group. The type
and strength of impressions depends on characteristics of speakers their sex, age,
the dialect they use, and very likely, the social-class background as this is revealed in
speech style. The type of reaction and adjustments listeners must make to those who
reveal, though in their speech style, their likely ethnic group allegiance is suggested by
the traits that listeners use to indicate their impressions".
counterbalance some of the deficiencies highlighted in sections iii) and iv)
oral stimulus materials could be recorded (at least a few conversations at any rate),
using bilingual texts (Catalan and Spanish, for example) or bidialectal texts (central and
north-western dialects of Catalan) in a formal context (using the standard variety, e.g. a
conversation in class between a student and a teacher about a book) and in an informal
context (using the non-standard variety, e.g. a conversation between two friends about a
mainstream film). Recording stylistically-contextualised material would enable us to make
up for some of the more experimental features of the technique and allow a multistylistic
evaluation of the individuals recorded.
semi-structured interview with some of the interviewees, in conjunction with the
technique, would allow:
discourse of interviewees on different aspects of our focus of interest; because this
discourse is oral, it will be more detailed and spontaneous (or sincere), reinforcing this
need to obtain reliable data for the study of language attitudes.
the use of situations of linguistic behaviour contextualised in real situations
experienced by the interviewees, since a semi-structured interview would allow this;
the introduction of everyday situations not experienced by the interviewee, that are of
interest as regards linguistic behaviour: concerning the mass media, with a political
We could thus
confirm or contrast the results of the questionnaire with the matched guise technique from
a qualitative point of view, bearing in mind the conative component of language attitudes.
To sum up, the
theoretical and methodological gaps in language attitude studies and the meagre
contributions from sociolinguistics and the social psychology of language in this area,
continue to foster the deficiencies in methodological application and development, which
has clear repercussions on the reliability and significance of the data obtained in these