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Novel accent perception in typically-developing school-aged children

Newton, C; Ridgway, S; (2016) Novel accent perception in typically-developing school-aged children. Child Language Teaching & Therapy , 32 (1) pp. 111-123. 10.1177/0265659015578464. Green open access

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Abstract

Many schools in Western countries like the United Kingdom have become increasingly diverse communities in recent years, and children are likely to be exposed to a variety of accents that are different from their own. While there is a wide body of research exploring accent comprehension in the adult population and in infancy, little has been done to investigate the impact that an unfamiliar accent has on perception in school-aged children. This study investigated the effect of an unfamiliar novel accent on the ability of typically-developing children aged 6 and 7 years to repeat simple sentences. Stimuli were presented in speech-shaped noise using an adaptive staircase procedure in order to compare the speech reception thresholds of the two accents. Participants were required to repeat back short English sentences, and their speech reception thresholds were calculated as the sound-to-noise ratio in which they were able to repeat back 100% of the key words in the sentence. Results showed that the participants required a significantly higher signal-to-noise ratio (i.e. less noise) to achieve the same level of comprehension for the novel accent as the familiar accent. Measures of cognitive flexibility and selective attention were also taken but were not found to correlate with performance with the unfamiliar accent. These findings have implications for professionals working with children and should alert them to the possible difficulties in communication as a result of unfamiliar accent.

Type: Article
Title: Novel accent perception in typically-developing school-aged children
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/0265659015578464
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0265659015578464
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author(s) 2015. Reprints and permissions: sagepub.co.uk/journalsPermissions.nav. This is the accepted manuscript version of this article; the final published article is available at http://clt.sagepub.com/content/32/1/111
Keywords: accent, perception, school-aged children, typically-developing, variation
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Language and Cognition
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1498900
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