ERIC Number: EJ1048442
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 45
The Developmental Trajectory of Toddlers' Comprehension of Unfamiliar Regional Accents
van Heugten, Marieke; Krieger, Dena R.; Johnson, Elizabeth K.
Language Learning and Development, v11 n1 p41-65 2015
Efficient language use involves the capacity to flexibly adjust to varied pronunciations of words. Although children can contend with some accent variability before their second birthday, it is currently unclear when and how this ability reaches its mature state. In a series of five experiments, we examine the developmental trajectory of toddlers' comprehension of unfamiliar regional accents. Experiments 1 and 2 reveal that Canadian-English-learning 25-month-olds outperform their 20-month-old peers on the recognition of Australian-accented words and that this effect is likely driven by 25-month-olds' larger vocabulary size. Experiments 3 to 5 subsequently show that 25-month-olds' recognition of familiar words holds regardless of prior exposure to the speaker or accent. Taken together, these findings suggest that children's ability to cope with accent variation improves substantially as their vocabulary expands in the second year of life and once it does, children recognize accented words on the fly, even without experience with the accent.
Descriptors: Toddlers, Nonstandard Dialects, Vocabulary Development, Pronunciation, Language Acquisition, Language Usage, Child Development, Word Recognition, Language Variation, English, Foreign Countries, Nouns, Measures (Individuals), Auditory Stimuli, Structural Equation Models
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada (Toronto)