ID speech universals: can English speakers recognise intentions behind infant directed speech spoken in Yoruba?

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Shadwell, Terence
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BA in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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This study investigated whether English speakers could identify through prosody alone whether speech in Yoruba was infant directed (ID) or adult directed (AD), and also whether the affective intention of the speaker could be identified. It was hypothesised that participants would be more accurate at identifying these intentions when spoken in lD speech than in AD speech. Using stimulus recordings in Yoruba, three repeated measures experiments requiring forced choice recognition responses were conducted, one manipulating the direction of the speaker (AD/lD), while the other two experiments, one using ID speech, the other AD speech, manipulated the intention of the speaker (expressing either approval, attention, comfort or prohibition). The implications of the results, which are generally supportive of the hypotheses, are discussed.