ASA 128th Meeting - Austin, Texas - 1994 Nov 28 .. Dec 02

4aSPb1. Prosodic features of foreigner talk register in the speech of 10- to 11- and 6- to 7-year-old American children.

Jennifer Sullivan

Andrea G. Levitt

Wellesley College, 106 Central Street, Wellesley, MA 02181-8289

At what age and in what ways do children begin to modify their speech in the presence of a non-native speaker? Two groups of six American children each, three girls and three boys, were asked to teach two children, one a native speaker of English and another with limited English proficiency, to recite the pledge of allegiance and two children's poems. The children in the older group were between 10 and 11 years old, and those in the younger group were between 6 and 7. When speaking to the non-native child, the older group of children produced shorter utterances, repeated often, and spoke significantly more slowly than when speaking to the native speaker. Repetitions were generally spoken with a lower F0, and the older children also used a significantly reduced F0 range when addressing the non-native speaker. There were no differences in the prosodic adjustments made by the boys and the girls. The children in the younger group generally made few modifications in their speech to the non-native child, although some of the older subjects in this group occasionally modified their speech to the non-native speaker in ways similar to those of the older children. [Work supported by NIH Grant No. 1 R15 HD28173-01.]