Despite the relatively large number of studies documenting the interaction of talker and linguistic information during speech perception in adults, such as talker-contingent phoneme processing or language-dependent processing of talker information, there is little work examining the development of talker processing in children. This study investigated the extent to which language familiarity affects the perception of the talker dimension of the speech signal by testing children's discrimination of bilingual voices in two different languages. Children - aged 7 to 12 - heard pairs of words either in English (familiar language) or German (unfamiliar language) and judged whether the two words were spoken by the same or different talkers. The results of this study indicate that children are able to perform this task at above-chance levels, revealing that the perception of talker information appears early in development. Furthermore, children are able to process this information even when they are unfamiliar with the language and therefore lack access to linguistic information. A comparison between children with typical language development and those with specific language impairment suggests that the perception of talker information can be retained even when linguistic perception is impaired.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics