The effect of an unfamiliar accent on typically developing children’s comprehension of spoken sentences

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Allen, Éadaoin
O'Leary, Deirdre
Gibbon, Fiona E.
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Irish Association of Speech and Language Therapists (IASLT); J&R Press Ltd.
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Objective: To investigate whether children’s performance on a sentence comprehension task is affected when sentences are spoken in an unfamiliar accent. Method: Participants were 47 typically developing children living in southern Ireland consisting of a younger group (n = 24) of 4-year-olds and an older group (n = 23) of 6-year-olds. The children completed a sentence comprehension task in which half the instructions were spoken in a familiar accent and half in an unfamiliar accent. Sentences were matched for length and syntactic complexity. Main results: The younger group’s scores were significantly lower when sentences were presented in the unfamiliar accent, but there was no accent effect on comprehension for children in the older group. Conclusions: For young children living in southern Ireland, an unfamiliar accent could reduce their comprehension of spoken language.
Accent , Receptive language , Sentence comprehension , Children , Token Test
Allen, E., O' Leary, D. and Gibbon, F. E. (2015) 'The Effect of an Unfamiliar Accent on Typically Developing Children's Comprehension of Spoken Sentences', Journal of Clinical Speech and Language Studies, 22, pp. 29-45.
© 2015