Influence of Voice Intonation on Understanding Irony by Polish-Speaking Preschool Children

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Abstract

The main aim of the presented study was to investigate the influence of voice intonation on the comprehension of ironic utterances in 4- to 6-year-old Polish-speaking children. 83 preschool children were tested with the Irony Comprehension Task (Banasik & Bokus, 2012). In the Irony Comprehension Task, children are presented with stories in which ironic utterances were prerecorded and read by professional speakers using an ironic intonation. Half of the subjects performed the regular Irony Comprehension Task while the other half were given a modified version of the Irony Comprehension Task (ironic content was uttered using a non-ironic intonation). Results indicate that children from the ironic intonation group scored higher on the Irony Comprehension Task than children who heard ironic statements uttered using a neutral voice. Ironic voice intonation appeared to be a helpful cue to irony comprehension.

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