Complex Syntax Production of African American Preschoolers This study examined changes in the complex syntax production of 85 3- and 4-year-old African American children and the role of child (i.e., gender, age, African American English) and family (i.e., home environment) factors. The mean percentage of utterances containing one or more complex syntax forms was 6.2% at 3 ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 2001
Complex Syntax Production of African American Preschoolers
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Sandra C. Jackson
    Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Joanne E. Roberts
    Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center and Department of Pediatrics Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Contact author: Sandra C. Jackson, PhD, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 105 Smith Level Road, CB# 8180, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-8180.
    Contact author: Sandra C. Jackson, PhD, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 105 Smith Level Road, CB# 8180, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-8180.×
  • Corresponding author: E-mail: jackson@mail.fpg.unc.edu
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 2001
Complex Syntax Production of African American Preschoolers
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2001, Vol. 44, 1083-1096. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2001/086)
History: Received January 4, 2001 , Accepted April 24, 2001
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2001, Vol. 44, 1083-1096. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2001/086)
History: Received January 4, 2001; Accepted April 24, 2001
Web of Science® Times Cited: 32

This study examined changes in the complex syntax production of 85 3- and 4-year-old African American children and the role of child (i.e., gender, age, African American English) and family (i.e., home environment) factors. The mean percentage of utterances containing one or more complex syntax forms was 6.2% at 3 years and 11.7% at 4 years. Girls produced more complex syntax forms than did boys. Complex syntax production increased significantly between age 3 and age 4 and correlated positively with mean length of utterance in words. Children from more responsive and stimulating home environments produced more complex syntax at 4 years. African American English was not related to the amount of complex syntax used.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health (1R01 DC03817), Maternal and Child Health Program (MCJ-370599 and MCJ-370649, Title V, Social Security Act), Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Spencer Foundation. The authors thank the children and parents for their participation in this project and Susan Zeisel for coordinating the data collection. We thank Walt Wolfram for his helpful input regarding the complex syntax definitions and scoring. We also thank Peg Burchinal and Eloise Neebe for their assistance with the data analysis.
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