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Processing of unfamiliar accents in monolingual and bilingual children: effects of type and amount of accent experience

  • Helena LEVY (a1), Lars KONIECZNY (a2) and Adriana HANULÍKOVÁ (a2) (a3)


Substantial individual differences exist in regard to type and amount of experience with variable speech resulting from foreign or regional accents. Whereas prior experience helps with processing familiar accents, research on how experience with accented speech affects processing of unfamiliar accents is inconclusive, ranging from perceptual benefits to processing disadvantages. We examined how experience with accented speech modulates mono- and bilingual children's (mean age: 9;10) ease of speech comprehension for two unfamiliar accents in German, one foreign and one regional. More experience with regional accents helped children repeat sentences correctly in the regional condition and in the standard condition. More experience with foreign accents did not help in either accent condition. The results suggest that type and amount of accent experience co-determine processing ease of accented speech.

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Corresponding author

*Corresponding author. University of Freiburg, Sprachwissenschaftliches Seminar, 79085 Freiburg. E-mail:


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