Talker familiarity and spoken word recognition in school-age children

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Research with adults has shown that spoken language processing is improved when listeners are familiar with talkers' voices, known as the familiar talker advantage. The current study explored whether this ability extends to school-age children, who are still acquiring language. Children were familiarized with the voices of three German-English bilingual talkers and were tested on the speech of six bilinguals, three of whom were familiar. Results revealed that children do show improved spoken language processing when they are familiar with the talkers, but this improvement was limited to highly familiar lexical items. This restriction of the familiar talker advantage is attributed to differences in the representation of highly familiar and less familiar lexical items. In addition, children did not exhibit accent-general learning; despite having been exposed to German-accented talkers during training, there was no improvement for novel German-accented talkers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)843-872
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of child language
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 26 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • General Psychology


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