NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ849232
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jul
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 67
ISSN: ISSN-1363-755X
Accommodating Variability in Voice and Foreign Accent: Flexibility of Early Word Representations
Schmale, Rachel; Seidl, Amanda
Developmental Science, v12 n4 p583-601 Jul 2009
In six experiments with English-learning infants, we examined the effects of variability in voice and foreign accent on word recognition. We found that 9-month-old infants successfully recognized words when two native English talkers with dissimilar voices produced test and familiarization items (Experiment 1). When the domain of variability was shifted to include variability in voice as well as in accent, 13-, but not 9-month-olds, recognized a word produced across talkers when only one had a Spanish accent (Experiments 2 and 3). Nine-month-olds accommodated some variability in accent by recognizing words when the same Spanish-accented talker produced familiarization and test items (Experiment 4). However, 13-, but not 9-month-olds, could do so when test and familiarization items were produced by two distinct Spanish-accented talkers (Experiments 5 and 6). These findings suggest that, although monolingual 9-month-olds have abstract phonological representations, these representations may not be flexible enough to accommodate the modifications found in foreign-accented speech.
Wiley-Blackwell. 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148. Tel: 800-835-6770; Tel: 781-388-8598; Fax: 781-388-8232; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A