Accent can function as a cue for social categorization and stereotyping and the media is one of the main agents for this distribution. This study is a sociolinguistic analysis of the use of accents in four recent Disney films and how these accents are represented through different character roles. There is also a focus on how the setting is reflected through these accents. Films studied are Frozen (2013) and Vaiana (2016) from Walt Disney Animation Studios and Brave (2012) and Coco (2017) from Pixar Animation Studios. Results show authenticity to setting in the use of accents to various degrees. Pixar films show this to a great extent while the Disney films do so less and have a higher use of the General American accent. Overall results show that English with a foreign accent is spoken by almost half of the characters. An important finding is the high number of non-speaking evil and negative characters suggesting a new tendency of avoiding the use of accent stereotypes for these characters. Lastly, an awareness of the use of accent and language-based stereotypes in films is to be sought after by holding film companies accountable to a greater extent than before. This can be done through channels such as social media.
Keywords Sociolinguistics, language attitudes, language ideologies, accents, language in media, animated film, Disney, Pixar.