Guy, G. (1980). Variation in the group and the individual: The case of final stop deletion. In W. Labov, ed., Locating Language in Time and Space, 1 – 36. New York: Academic Press.
Guy, G. (1991). Explanation in variable phonology: An exponential model of morphological constraints. Language Variation & Change, 3, 1 – 22.
Guy, G. & Boyd, S. (1990). The development of a morphological class. Language Variation & Change, 2, 1 – 18.
Labov, W. (1989). The child as linguistic historian. Language Variation & Change, 1, 85 – 97.
Minderhout, D. (1972). Final consonant cluster reduction. In W. Riley & D. Smith, eds., Languages and Linguistics Working Papers, No. 5: Sociolinguistics, 8 – 15. Washingtion, D.C.: Georgetown University Press.
Neu, H. (1980). Ranking of constraints in /t, d/ deletion in American English: A statistical analysis. In W. Labov, ed., Locating Language in Time and Space, 37 – 54. New York: Academic Press.
Cote, M. (2004). Syntagmatic distinctness in consonant deletion. Phonology, 21, 1 – 41.
Demuth, K. & Kehoe, M. (2006). The acquisition of word-final clusters in French. Catalan Journal of Linguistics, 5, 59 – 81.
Labov, W. & Cohen, P. (1967). Systematic relations of standard and non-standard rules in the grammars of Negro speakers. Project Literacy Reports, No. 8, 66 – 84. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University.
PURPOSE: To continue the study of the structural and functional differences between standard English and AAE.
Clusters ending in –t or –d:
A pattern of simplification before consonants but not before vowels; preserves the underlying forms of the words (e.g., “firs thing” vs. “first of all”)
There are differences between middle and working class speakers
Variation occurs across ages
“ed” is a continuous variable
Clusters ending in –s or –z
“monomorphemic forms and plurals are intact and are affected only by stylistic phonological simplification, the third-person singular –s and regular possessive –s are missing entirely from the dialect in any systematic sense”
Highlights the interconnectedness of phonology and grammar
Sligh, A. & Conners, F. (2003). Relation of dialect to phonological processing: African American Vernacular English vs. Standard American English. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 28, 205 – 228.
AFRICAN AMERICAN ENGLISH: PHONOLOGY
Baran, J. & Seymour, H. (1976). The influence of three phonological rules of Black English on the discrimination of minimal word pairs. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 19, 467 – 474.
Craig, H., Thompson, C., Washington, J., & Potter, S. (2003). Phonological features of child African American English. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 46, 623 – 635.
Felder, L. (????). Perception of African American English Word Final stop consonants by mainstream American English and African American English listeners.
Haynes, W. & Moran, M. (1989). A cross-sectional developmental study of final consonant production in southern Black children from preschool to third grade. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 20, 400 – 406.
Laing, S. (2003). Assessment of phonology in preschool African American Vernacular English speakers using an alternate response mode. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 12, 273 – 281.
Moran, M. (1993). Final consonant deletion in African American children speaking Black English: A closer look. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 24, 161 – 166.
PURPOSE: To determine whether African American children who delete final consonants mark the presence of those consonants in a manner that might be overlooked in a typical speech evaluation.
RESULTS: Children produced longer vowels before ‘deleted’ voiced final consonants (but not before ‘deleted’ voiceless final consonants). Children might be using vowel length as a contrastive feature to differentiate between minimal word pairs. Seymour and Seymour (1981) suggested that final consonant deletion in young Black children might be a precursor to final consonant cluster reduction in adult Black speakers.
Stockman, I. (2006). Alveolar bias in the final consonant deletion patterns of African American children. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services In Schools, 37, 85 – 95.
AFRICAN AMERICAN ENGLISH: MORPHOSYNTAX
Craig, H. & Washington, J. (1994). The complex syntax skills of poor, urban, African-American preschoolers at school entry. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 25, 181 – 190.
PURPOSE: to establish a norm-referenced description of young African Americans’ language to use as a tool in the identification of language disorders in young speakers of AAE.
What are the percentage frequencies of occurrence of utterances containing complex syntax in the oral productions of African American preschoolers?
What are the percentage frequency distributions of specific types of complex syntax?
Are there systematic influences on the amounts of complex syntax observed?
KEY CONCEPT: Complex syntax: any of the forms listed below:
simple infinitive with same subject (e.g., they was tryin to get in)
simple noninfinitive wh-clause (e.g., this where they live at)
noun phrase complement (e.g., I think this’ll work)
let(s)/lemme and infinitive (e.g., lemme do it)
relative clause (e.g., where the ghost you gotta put in?)
infinitive with a different subject (e.g., the bus driver told the kids to stop)
unmarked infinitive (e.g., I help braid it sometimes)
wh-infinitive clause (e.g., she know how to do a flip)
gerunds and participles (e.g., they saw splashing, it get rainy)
clauses joined by conjunctions: and, but, so, if, because, since, before, when, until, while, like
ANSWERS TO RESEARCH QUESTIONS:
The amount of complex syntax varied across participants, from 0 to 25%.
The most common complex syntax form (as judged by the percentage of participants who used each form) was the infinitive-same subject, followed by the noninfinitive wh-clause. Other frequent forms were: the conjunction and, noun phrase complements, and lets/lemme. The least frequently occurring forms were the conjunctions like, until, before, and since.
Two systematic influences affecting production of complex syntax forms were found. First, the percentage frequency of occurrence of utterances containing complex syntax was positively related to the number of DIFFERENT types of complex syntax forms (i.e., a child whose utterances had a higher rate of complex syntax forms was also more likely to use a larger variety of different syntax forms). Second, the percentage frequency of occurrence of an AAE form was positively related to the quantity of complex syntax (i.e., a child who used more AAE forms was also more likely to use more complex syntax forms).
Washington, J. & Craig, H. (2002). Morphosyntactic forms of African American English used by young children and their caregivers. Applied Psycholinguistics, 23, 209 – 231.
AFRICAN AMERICAN ENGLISH: LITERACY
Charity, A., Scarborough, H., & Griffin, D. (2004). Familiarity with school English in African American children and its relation to early reading achievement. Child Development, 75, 1340 – 1356.
PURPOSE: To obtain new and stronger evidence in support of an association between the use of AAVE and early reading acquisition.
To assess familiarity with School English (SE) among young African American students from low-SES backgrounds by measuring the degree to which they could reproduce phonological and grammatical features of SE in a sentence imitation context
To examine whether familiarity with SE is related to reading achievement differences in the early school years.
Reading achievement was well correlated with children’s familiarity with SE, and these relationships could not be attributed simply to differences in children’s memory abilities.
Variation in children’s familiarity with SE
Schools with lowest SES had lower phonological and grammatical scores
Geographic differences were observed (notably among the New Orleans schools, as compared with Cleveland and Washington, D.C.)
Unexplained variance (e.g., variance not accounted for by SES, race, or regional differences) is likely due to family variables (education, childrearing practices, etc.)
Data suggest that “exposure to print itself, and gains in knowledge about print and reading, may be more responsible for increasing familiarity with SE in the early school years than is exposure to oral models”.
Unexamined question: are children who use fewer AAVE features in their everyday speech better imitators of SE? (dialect density was not assessed, and speech samples were not gathered)
Associations between reading achievement and familiarity with SE
Three hypotheses were supported by the data: instructional quality and teacher bias, linguistic interference between AAVE and SE, and metalinguistic awareness
One hypothesis was not supported: global ability differences
The data suggest a RELATIONSHIP or CORRELATION; causality was not identified
The supported hypotheses are not mutually exclusive
Fogel, H. & Ehri, L. (2000). Teaching elementary students who speak Black English Vernacular to write in Standard English: Effects of dialect transformation practice. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25, 212 – 235.
PURPOSE: To examine the effects of three levels of intervention on the writing skills of speakers of Black Vernacular English (BVE). The levels were:
exposure to Standard English (SE) features in stories;
exposure to SE features in stories, explanation of SE rules, plus guided practice transforming sentences from BEV to SE.
BEV is more similar to SE than it is different
Social-cognitive perspective: to be self-regulating, students need to have a clearly defined point of reference against which they can self-observe, self-judge, and self-react; emphasis is on the central role that self-efficacy (a person’s judgment of his capabilities to organize and execute courses of action required to attain designated types of performance) beliefs play in student motivation and performance
Self-regulated learning perspective: simply instructing students in strategies and rules is not sufficient for maximal learning to occur
Targeted SE syntactic features:
Past tense ed
Third-person present-tense singular s
Students who received explicit instruction regarding syntactic rules but did not have the opportunity to practice those rules (group 2) fared no better than students who were not given the rules at all (group 1).
The scores of students who received all three intervention strategies (group 3) exceeded the combined scores of students in the other two intervention groups.
Students’ self-efficacy ratings were LOWER at the end of the study for the third intervention group, whereas the other two groups’ self-efficacy ratings INCREASED. There was an inverse relationship between self-efficacy rating and writing performance both before and after treatment. None of the effects, however, were statistically significant.
Therefore, exposing students to instances of SE in their reading and listening, and/or pointing out and explaining these differences are not likely to affect their writing; students need direct practice translating written work from BEV to SE.
Washington, J. (2001). Early literacy skills in African-American children: Research considerations. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 16, 213 – 221.
PURPOSE: Focus on variables of cultural linguistic differences, poverty, educational expectations and assessment practices, highlight what is currently known, and suggest future directions for research into emerging literacy in African American children.
The impact of poverty
AA children are more than 2x as likely to be raised in poverty, as compared to W children.
Lack of stability, continuity of care, adequate nutrition, and medical care
AA children from middle SES homes performed academically comparable to their W peers from low SES homes.
Even when AA and W families have the same income and level of education, the gap between W and AA students is still present.
General oral language skill
Good language skills are necessary, but not sufficient, for becoming a good reader.
Vocabulary breadth: the # of different words a child knows.
Low income children use significantly more dialect than middle SES children.
AA mothers and W mothers have very different styles of book reading; AA mothers do not use the question-answer format of school; both sets of mothers use “motherese”.
Characteristics of AAE:
Deletion of copula and auxiliary
Undifferentiated pronoun case
Zero possessive, past tense, “ing”, “to”, and plural
Remote past “been”
Home literacy experiences
Differences include the amount of exposure and the type of exposure.
Literacy should be “bidirectional”: school <-> home.
Community response should include: pediatricians, hospitals, churches, community centers
Standardized test bias
Assumption: a given behavior or skill can be measured and interpreted by eliminating variation in administration and accepted responses. This presupposes that these behaviors or skills can be assessed independent of contextual and cultural variables.
Bias in: college entrance exams, “high stakes” national and state level testing, cognitive and language assessment.
Alternative: dynamic assessment: measures the effects of changing context on a child’s performance; the stimuli, tasks, and administration of a test are manipulated in order to evaluate differential effects on a child’s performance.
Poor performance of AA children cannot be attributed to bias alone.
Standardized assessments useful for confirming the existence of reading difficulties, but not for pinpointing the nature and extent of the problem.
Low teacher expectations
Low SES children are called on less often, receive less positive feedback and interaction, and receive less instructional time.
Teachers’ expectations become a “self-fulfilling prophecy”: affects the extent to which students are challenged, called upon, and pressed for answers.
Students whose performance was influenced by cultural or SES variables were assumed to be less competent learners.
Prevention is our goal and should begin before kindergarten.
Most attempts to identify reading disabilities before instruction occurs overpredict disabilities.
Identification must occur later, but prevention must occur earlier.
Connor, C. M. & Craig, H. (2006). African American preschoolers’ language, emergent literacy skills, and use of African American English: A complex relation. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 49, 771 – 792.
Craig, H. & Washington, J. (2002). Oral language expectations for African American preschoolers and kindergartners. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 11, 59 – 70.
Craig, H. & Washington, J. (2004). Grade-related changes in the production of African American English. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, 47, 450 – 463.
Seymour, H., Bland-Stewart, L., & Green, L. (1998). Difference versus deficit in child African American English. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services In Schools, 29, 96 – 108.
Bialystok, E. (2009). Bilingualism: The good, the bad, and the indifferent. International Symposium on Bilingualism Lecture, 3 – 11. Cambridge University Press.
The bad: bilinguals generally control a smaller vocabulary in each language than monolinguals.
The good: bilinguals generally perform better on metalinguistic tasks that require attention and inhibition (improved executive functioning)
The indifferent: in bilinguals, working memory (another component of executive functioning) is enhanced or equivalent for nonverbal material or more controlled processing requirements, relative to monolinguals; for verbal recall, however, bilinguals are at a disadvantage relative to monolinguals.
Garon, N. Bryson, S., & Smith, I. (2008). Executive function in preschoolers: A review using an integrative framework. Psychological Bulletin, 134, 31 – 60.