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Abstract

The present research looked at Indian adults and children’s pedagogical preferences based on the language of the speaker (i.e., Telugu, British-English, Indian-English) and whether the preferences for a language varied with the content of the learning (i.e., learning how to use a music instrument vs. a machine) and context of the learning (i.e., learning to score well on a test vs. learning for fun). In Study 1, adults chose which of two speakers they would want to learn from. There was an overall preference for Indian-English across all the trials. In addition, the type of information taught and the context of learning influenced adults’ pedagogical choices. While participants with Telugu as their native language still preferred Indian-English, Telugu was chosen over British-English in the context of learning for fun and learning about cultural instruments. In Study 2, we used the same procedure to examine 5-7-year-old children. Like adults, children exhibited an overall bias for Indian-English. Exploratory analyses revealed that children for whom Telugu was their native language, were more likely to select Telugu over English to learn about novel cultural objects and in the context of learning for fun. Although it is difficult to draw inferences from these trends (due to a small sample size), these results indicate that children may show a stronger native-language bias than adults. The results of this project provide new light into the development of linguistic bias in non-WEIRD populations. Overall, they show that both adults’ and children’s pedagogical preferences are influenced by the familiarity and status of others’ language and may vary depending on the content and context of learning.

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