Children's perception of dialect variation.

Authors: Wagner L, Clopper CG, Pate JK
ABSTRACT A speaker’s regional dialect is a rich source of information about that person. Two studies examined five- to six-year-old children’s perception of regional dialect: Can they perceive differences among dialects? Have they made meaningful social connections to specific dialects? Experiment 1 asked children to categorize speakers into groups based on their accent; Experiment 2 asked them to match speakers to (un)familiar cultural items. Each child was tested with two of the following: the child’s Home dialect, a Regional variant of that dialect, and a Second-Language variant. Results showed that children could successfully categorize only with a Home vs. Second-Language dialect contrast, but could reliably link cultural items w…

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