Contending with foreign accent in early word learning*
Summary of "Contending with foreign accent in early word learning*"
ABSTRACTBy their second birthday, children are beginning to map meaning to form with relative ease. One challenge for these developing abilities is separating information relevant to word identity (i.e. phonemic information) from irrelevant information (e.g. voice and foreign accent). Nevertheless, little is known about toddlers' abilities to ignore irrelevant phonetic detail when faced with the demanding task of word learning. In an experiment with English-learning toddlers, we examined the impact of foreign accent on word learning. Findings revealed that while toddlers aged 2 ; 6 successfully generalized newly learned words spoken by a Spanish-accented speaker and a native English speaker, success of those aged 2 ; 0 was restricted. Specifically, toddlers aged 2 ; 0 failed to generalize words when trained by the native English speaker and tested by the Spanish-accented speaker. Data suggest that exposure to foreign accent in training may promote generalization of newly learned forms. These findings are considered in the context of developmental changes in early word representations.
North Park University, USA.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Journal of child language
- PubMed Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21310097
- DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0305000910000619
Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions
Learning in which the subject must respond with one word or syllable when presented with another word or syllable.
Use of word stimulus to strengthen a response during learning.
The gradual expansion in complexity and meaning of symbols and sounds as perceived and interpreted by the individual through a maturational and learning process. Stages in development include babbling, cooing, word imitation with cognition, and use of short sentences.
Change in learning in one situation due to prior learning in another situation. The transfer can be positive (with second learning improved by first) or negative (where the reverse holds).
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