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ERIC Number: EJ1056081
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Sep
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 61
ISSN: ISSN-0278-7393
Gradient Phonological Inconsistency Affects Vocabulary Learning
Muench, Kristin L.; Creel, Sarah C.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v39 n5 p1585-1600 Sep 2013
Learners frequently experience phonologically inconsistent input, such as exposure to multiple accents. Yet, little is known about the consequences of phonological inconsistency for language learning. The current study examines vocabulary acquisition with different degrees of phonological inconsistency, ranging from no inconsistency (e.g., both talkers call a picture /vig/) to mild but detectable inconsistency (e.g., one talker calls a picture a /vig/, and the other calls it a /vIg/), up to extreme inconsistency (e.g., the same picture is both a /vig/ and a /dId?/). Previous studies suggest that learners readily extract consistent phonological patterns, given variable input. However, in Experiment 1, adults acquired phonologically inconsistent vocabularies more slowly than phonologically consistent ones. Experiment 2 examined whether word-form inconsistency alone, without phonological competition, was a source of learning difficulty. Even without phonological competition, listeners learned faster in 1 accent than in 2 accents, but they also learned faster in 2 accents (/vig/ = /vIg/) than with completely different labels (/vig/ = /dId?/). Overall, results suggest that learners exposed to multiple accents may experience difficulty learning when 2 forms mismatch by more than 1 phonological feature, plus increased phonological competition due to a greater number of word forms. Implications for learning from variable input are discussed.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California
IES Grant or Contract Numbers: BCS-1057080