Variable Use of African American English Across Two Language Sampling Contexts This investigation compares the impact of two language sampling elicitation contexts, free play and picture description, on variability in the use of African American English (AAE). Subjects were 65 normally-developing African American 4;4- to 6;3-year-old boys and girls from lower socioeconomic status homes. Comparisons of AAE production in the first ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 1998
Variable Use of African American English Across Two Language Sampling Contexts
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Julie A. Washington
    University of Michigan
  • Holly K. Craig
    University of Michigan
  • Amy J. Kushmaul
    University of Michigan
  • Contact author: Julie A. Washington, Communicative Disoders Clinic, University of Michigan, 1111 East Catherine Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109–2054. Email: julieaw@umich.edu
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Language Disorders / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 1998
Variable Use of African American English Across Two Language Sampling Contexts
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 1998, Vol. 41, 1115-1124. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4105.1115
History: Received February 6, 1997 , Accepted January 12, 1998
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 1998, Vol. 41, 1115-1124. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4105.1115
History: Received February 6, 1997; Accepted January 12, 1998

This investigation compares the impact of two language sampling elicitation contexts, free play and picture description, on variability in the use of African American English (AAE). Subjects were 65 normally-developing African American 4;4- to 6;3-year-old boys and girls from lower socioeconomic status homes. Comparisons of AAE production in the first 50 C units revealed significant differences by context. Picture descriptions elicited more AAE usage overall, a larger set of AAE types, and took less time. Gender differences in the use of AAE tokens were also apparent, with the boys using significantly more tokens than girls in the free play context. The use of AAE types and tokens was comparable for boys and girls in the picture description context. The advantages of language sampling with pictures to determine dialect usage is discussed.

Acknowledgments
This investigation was supported by research grant number 1 RO1 DC 02313–01A1 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health. The authors thank Mollie McRoberts, Maureen Noone, and Connie Thompson-Porter for their contributions to various aspects of the project. Special thanks also to the administrators, teachers, and children in the Pontiac, MI and Oak Park, MI public schools for their support and cooperation.
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