Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Children As Young As 19 Months Understand Different Dialects

Date:
May 7, 2009
Source:
Association for Psychological Science
Summary:
The results suggest that phonological constancy (recognizing words in different dialects) is already evident by 19 months of age, but is not yet present at 15 months.

We are surrounded by a multitude of different accents every day. Even when a speaker of another English dialect pronounces words differently than we do, we are typically able to recognize their words. Psychologist Catherine Best from MARCS Laboratories, University of Western Sydney, along with colleagues from Haskins Laboratories and Wesleyan University, report a ground-breaking study on the early development of this cross-dialect skill, which they term "phonological constancy."

Related Articles


In this experiment, 15- and 19-month-old American toddlers looked at a colored checkerboard on a monitor in order to hear sets of familiar words or unfamiliar words. They completed two tests, one with their own American dialect, and the other with a Jamaican English dialect.

The results, described in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, suggest that phonological constancy is already evident by 19 months of age, but is not yet present at 15 months. Both ages listened longer to familiar words than to unfamiliar words in the American dialect, indicating they recognize and prefer words they know. But the 15-month-olds failed to show this preference for the Jamaican dialect, suggesting poor recognition of Jamaican-accented words. However, the 19-month-olds showed the same familiar-word preference in the Jamaican accent as in the American accent, indicating cross-dialect phonological constancy for words.

The authors conclude that phonological constancy, along with the complementary ability to differentiate words from similar-sounding words or nonwords (known as phonological distinctiveness), "together serve as a solid foundation on which children rapidly build a vocabulary, and later extrapolate from spoken language to the world of reading."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Association for Psychological Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Development of Phonological Constancy. Psychological Science, (in press)

Cite This Page:

Association for Psychological Science. "Children As Young As 19 Months Understand Different Dialects." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090506121159.htm>.
Association for Psychological Science. (2009, May 7). Children As Young As 19 Months Understand Different Dialects. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090506121159.htm
Association for Psychological Science. "Children As Young As 19 Months Understand Different Dialects." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090506121159.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Yoga can help your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and heart just as much as biking and walking does, a new study suggests. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins