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. 2017;31(7-9):514-525.
doi: 10.1080/02699206.2016.1277391. Epub 2017 Feb 14.

The Development of Visual Speech Perception in Mandarin Chinese-speaking Children

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The Development of Visual Speech Perception in Mandarin Chinese-speaking Children

Liang Chen et al. Clin Linguist Phon. .

Abstract

The present study aimed to investigate the development of visual speech perception in Chinese-speaking children. Children aged 7, 13 and 16 were asked to visually identify both consonant and vowel sounds in Chinese as quickly and accurately as possible. Results revealed (1) an increase in accuracy of visual speech perception between ages 7 and 13 after which the accuracy rate either stagnates or drops; and (2) a U-shaped development pattern in speed of perception with peak performance in 13-year olds. Results also showed that across all age groups, the overall levels of accuracy rose, whereas the response times fell for simplex finals, complex finals and initials. These findings suggest that (1) visual speech perception in Chinese is a developmental process that is acquired over time and is still fine-tuned well into late adolescence; (2) factors other than cross-linguistic differences in phonological complexity and degrees of reliance on visual information are involved in development of visual speech perception.

Keywords: Chinese; cross-linguistic differences; development; visual speech perception.

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