This study evaluated the effects of practice with a referential communication task on the form and effectiveness of elderspeak, a speech register targeted at older listeners. The task required the listener to reproduce a route drawn on a map following the speaker's instructions. Young adults were given extended practice with this task to determine if they would modify their fluency, prosody, grammatical complexity, semantic content, or discourse style. The effectiveness of the young speakers' instructions was also evaluated in terms of how accurately their older partners could reproduce the routes and in terms of the older adults' evaluations of their own communicative competence. With practice, the young adults' instructions became shorter, simpler, slower, and more repetitious; these selective changes did not affect the older adults' accuracy, but did result in lower self-ratings of communicative competence by the older partners. In a second study, a new group of young adults was given extended practice with young adults as partners. The practice effects were limited to fluency (sentence length and speech rate) and had no effect on the young partners' accuracy or selfratings of communicative competence.