Children's Use of Semantic Context in Perception of Foreign-Accented Speech Purpose The purpose of this study is to evaluate children's use of semantic context to facilitate foreign-accented word recognition in noise. Method Monolingual American English speaking 5- to 7-year-olds (n = 168) repeated either Mandarin- or American English–accented sentences in babble, half of which contained final words that ... Research Article
Research Article  |   January 01, 2017
Children's Use of Semantic Context in Perception of Foreign-Accented Speech
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Rachael Frush Holt
    Department of Speech and Hearing Science, The Ohio State University, Columbus
  • Tessa Bent
    Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Rachael Frush Holt: holt.339@osu.edu
  • Editor: Nancy Tye-Murray
    Editor: Nancy Tye-Murray×
  • Associate Editor: Mitchell Sommers
    Associate Editor: Mitchell Sommers×
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   January 01, 2017
Children's Use of Semantic Context in Perception of Foreign-Accented Speech
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, January 2017, Vol. 60, 223-230. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-H-16-0014
History: Received January 11, 2016 , Revised May 11, 2016 , Accepted July 1, 2016
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, January 2017, Vol. 60, 223-230. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-H-16-0014
History: Received January 11, 2016; Revised May 11, 2016; Accepted July 1, 2016

Purpose The purpose of this study is to evaluate children's use of semantic context to facilitate foreign-accented word recognition in noise.

Method Monolingual American English speaking 5- to 7-year-olds (n = 168) repeated either Mandarin- or American English–accented sentences in babble, half of which contained final words that were highly predictable from context. The same final words were presented in the low- and high-predictability sentences.

Results Word recognition scores were better in the high- than low-predictability contexts. Scores improved with age and were higher for the native than the Mandarin accent. The oldest children saw the greatest benefit from context; however, context benefit was similar regardless of speaker accent.

Conclusion Despite significant acoustic-phonetic deviations from native norms, young children capitalize on contextual cues when presented with foreign-accented speech. Implications for spoken word recognition in children with speech, language, and hearing differences are discussed.

Acknowledgments
We are grateful to Sarah Mabie and Angela Hill for their assistance in data collection, Charles Brandt for programming, the families who participated in this research, the Language Sciences Research Lab at the Center of Science and Industry (Columbus, OH), the National Science Foundation, The Ohio State University Pressey Honors Endowment Grant Program, The Ohio State University Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Grant Program, and The Ohio State University Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research Scholarship Program.
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