Edited by Gunther De Vogelaer and Matthias Katerbow
[Studies in Language Variation 20] 2017
► pp. 43–63
Chapter 2. The effects of exposure on awareness and discrimination of regional accents by five- and six year old children
This study compares bi-dialectal and mono-dialectal five-and six-year-old children’s sociolinguistic awareness and ability to discriminate regional accents in their native language. Children who regularly hear multiple regional varieties in their input are expected to have better awareness and discrimination accuracy. The children participated in two tasks: an awareness task, assessing their knowledge of regional variation, and a similarity judgment task, assessing their ability to discriminate between speakers based on accents. Results show that both groups reliably discriminate between regional accents, and can identify a local regional accent. However, no advantage is found for either group of participants on either task. The effects of exposure to regional phonological variation on perception and awareness are discussed in light of these findings.