Speech Variability (Infant Accommodation to)

Amanda Seidl & Rachel Schmale

In: Encyclopedia of Language Development

Speech Variability (Infant Accommodation to)

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  • When learning a language, infants must not only learn which features are specific to their language but also how to accommodate the vast amount of variability in speech. This variability occurs at many different levels. Segmental and suprasegmental phonology can vary across speakers depending on voice, identity (e.g., age, socioeconomic status, and ethnicity), dialect, accent, or idiosyncratic pronunciation of sound segments. For instance, at the segmental level, dialectal variation may lead a talker from one region to produce the word water with a [t], while a talker from a different region may use a [] sound. Suprasegmental information may vary such that water produced by a talker desperate for water may be imbued with excitement, whereas the same word produced by a talker on an ...

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