Grade-Related Changes in the Production of African American English This investigation examined grade as a source of systematic variation in the African American English (AAE) produced by students in preschool through fifth grades. Participants were 400 typically developing African American boys and girls residing in low- or middle-income homes in an urban-fringe community or midsize central city in the ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 2004
Grade-Related Changes in the Production of African American English
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Holly K. Craig
    University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • Julie A. Washington
    University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: hkc@umich.edu
  • Contact author: Holly K. Craig, PhD, University Center for the Development of Language and Literacy, University of Michigan, 1111 E. Catherine Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109- 2054. E-mail: hkc@umich.edu
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / School-Based Settings / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 2004
Grade-Related Changes in the Production of African American English
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2004, Vol. 47, 450-463. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/036)
History: Received March 27, 2003 , Accepted August 31, 2003
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2004, Vol. 47, 450-463. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/036)
History: Received March 27, 2003; Accepted August 31, 2003
Web of Science® Times Cited: 65

This investigation examined grade as a source of systematic variation in the African American English (AAE) produced by students in preschool through fifth grades. Participants were 400 typically developing African American boys and girls residing in low- or middle-income homes in an urban-fringe community or midsize central city in the metropolitan Detroit area. Between preschoolers and kindergartners, and between first through fifth graders, there were no significant differences in the amounts of dialect produced during a picture description language elicitation context. However, there was a significant downward shift in dialect production at first grade. Students who evidenced dialect shifting outper-formed their nonshifting peers on standardized tests of reading achievement and vocabulary breadth.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by Grant R305T990368 from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement, and by Grant 1 R01 DC04273-01 from National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. We gratefully acknowledge the cooperation of the students, families, and school personnel who participated in this study. In addition, we thank Connie A.
Thompson for helpful comments throughout the preparation of this article.
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