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This is an excerpt from a dialogue with a psychologist Elizabeth Brondolo, PhD in APA(Link is here; https://www.apa.org/research/action/speaking-of-psychology/stress-health):

"So when people face discrimination it changes the way their expectations about the way other people are going to treat them."

I believe the object of the verb;changes is 'their expectations about ~ treat them.'

Then what does 'the way' that comes right after 'changes' function here in terms of grammar? Is it an adverb? If it is, for what?

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Yes, you are right. The words "the way" may be safely removed from the sentence.

"So when people face discrimination it changes their expectations about the way other people are going to treat them."

I think that the psychologist corrected herself mid-sentence:

"So when people face discrimination it changes the way... (oops!) their expectations about the way other people are going to treat them."

She initially omitted "their expectations about", so she had to start again and repeat the whole phrase "their expectations about the way"

You can clearly hear at 03:25 in the record that she stops for a moment to correct the sentence.

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    Ahh thank you so much Cowperkettle. This sort of colloquial errors that even Native English speakers occasionally make is a beauty of learning English listening! Thank you so much for your perfectly elaborated answer. :) – Jin Aug 29 '19 at 6:49
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    From another perspective, it's a perfectly grammatical example of how people normally speak.It is not a matter of correcting it, it's a matter of transcribing a verbal utterance to text and analyzing it from that more familiar perspective because it's what you are more comfortable with given the way you've studied English. – Jim Reynolds Aug 29 '19 at 8:04
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    I think this is well-said on this page, especially in the first comment: painintheenglish.com/case/479 The best way to become proficient in English is to let go of a grammatical frame because it is misleading and inadequate. Read and listen for understanding the content of messages. Studying its formal aspects will only slow you down! If you are reading or listening to things that are difficult to understand, change, if possible to simpler material. Things that genuinely interest you. For most people, this is fiction. Read or listen to things that are easy enough so that you can – Jim Reynolds Aug 29 '19 at 8:10
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    Precisely. See bit.ly/2ZuZcKt If your main purpose is to develop proficiency, don't stop to expend effort on understanding every element unless you are compelled to do so. Nor should you repeat something in order to practice, which results in little or no language acquisition. Go on to something else pleasurable. More: sdkrashen.com – Jim Reynolds Aug 30 '19 at 8:33
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    @JimReynolds, Oh, I'm pleased that you brought up Stephen Krashen cause I recently got to know him while reading a post about second language acquisition. Actually, I've been reading some books by him on 'FVR(Free Voluntary Reading)' as well as language learning. I'll make sure to follow the links you offered. Thank you soo much :) – Jin Aug 30 '19 at 11:28

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