Both authors contributed equally to this work.
Toddlers recognize words in an unfamiliar accent after brief exposure
Article first published online: 29 AUG 2012
© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Volume 15, Issue 6, pages 732–738, November 2012
How to Cite
Schmale, R., Cristia, A. and Seidl, A. (2012), Toddlers recognize words in an unfamiliar accent after brief exposure. Developmental Science, 15: 732–738. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2012.01175.x
- Issue published online: 29 OCT 2012
- Article first published online: 29 AUG 2012
- Received: 9 August 2011 Accepted: 10 February 2012
Both subjective impressions and previous research with monolingual listeners suggest that a foreign accent interferes with word recognition in infants, young children, and adults. However, because being exposed to multiple accents is likely to be an everyday occurrence in many societies, it is unexpected that such non-standard pronunciations would significantly impede language processing once the listener has experience with the relevant accent. Indeed, we report that 24-month-olds successfully accommodate an unfamiliar accent in rapid word learning after less than 2 minutes of accent exposure. These results underline the robustness of our speech perception mechanisms, which allow listeners to adapt even in the absence of extensive lexical knowledge and clear known-word referents.
A video abstract of this article can be viewed at http: ⁄ ⁄www.youtube.com ⁄watch?v=bYnaZkMyKtY&feature=youtu.be