Foreigner Directed Speech
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Little, Hannah Ruth
Language is shaped by the cognitive biases of its learners (Christiansen & Chater, 2008). Correlations in recent work (Lupyan & Dale 2010) have found that languages with larger speaker populations are more likely to use lexical strategies than morphological ones. These correlations have been hypothesised by several recent works to be due to the different biases of adult and child language learners. The experimental work which has been done looking at the differences between adult and child learners however is often contradictory or vague. This dissertation will demonstrate that other factors are at work which explain the correlations found by Lupyan & Dale (2010). These include the role of accommodation to second language speakers. The current work uses a novel experimental paradigm using an artificial language within a communication task. It is demonstrated that lexical strategies are adopted by participants who are told that their interlocutor has been taught a slightly different dialect to the one which they were taught, but only if the first speaker in an interaction initially uses a lexical strategy. It is concluded that foreigner directed speech needs to be considered as a factor which affects the amount of lexical strategies used within a language with a large proportion of second language speakers.
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