Helen Buckler @ LEL Research Seminar

Posted on April 10, 2018 by


On Tuesday 17th April, LEL welcomes Helen Buckler, Assistant Professor in Psycholinguistics and Second Language Acquisition at the University of Nottingham. Helen’s main research areas focus on “how infants and children acquire language(s) from the speech they hear”, investigating both the “acoustic properties of infant- and child-directed speech, and how this relates to speech perception and production”. Next week, Helen will be presenting her current research on accent-related variability and its impact on child language acquisition (see abstract below).
Seminar Details:
Date: 17.04.2018
Room: Sam Alex A101
Time: 16.15-17.30
As always, the seminar will be followed by a drinks reception and dinner. We look forward to seeing you there!

A Bear called Baddington and Other Stories:
Investigating the influence of accented speech on language acquisition
Many studies have tried to understand how bilingual environments affect children’s language development, however, there has been much less work examining language development in monolingual children who regularly hear more than one variety, or accent, of the native language. These children have a diverse language environment and are exposed to greater linguistic variability than their peers with more uniform input. Given that current models of language acquisition, particularly developmental speech perception, assume that early linguistic knowledge is crucially dependent upon the properties of the input, it is important to understand how exposure to increased variability may affect language development. In this talk I will present a series of studies that approach this issue from three different perspectives.
A crucial step in understanding the impact of accent variability on phonological development is to understand the nature of the accent-related variability in the speech heard by infants. The first study I will present investigates the acoustic properties of foreign-accented infant-directed speech (IDS), focussing on L2 speakers’ realisation of the voicing contrast. The second set of studies investigate the impact of accent variability on infants’ lexical representations and word recognition abilities. I will present data indicating that exposure to multiple accents has an effect on the earliest stages of lexical acquisition at six months of age, and that these differences persist into toddlerhood. Finally, I will turn to sociolinguistics, and discuss whether increased exposure to accented speakers affects how children use accent cues when forming social groups.