Socioeconomic Status and Gender Influences on Children's Dialectal Variations This investigation compares dialect use by African American children differing in socioeconomic status (SES) and gender. Subjects were 5- and 6-year-old boys (n = 30) and girls (n = 36), who were kindergartners attending schools in the Metropolitan Detroit area. Comparisons of the amount of dialect in the children's spontaneous ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 1998
Socioeconomic Status and Gender Influences on Children's Dialectal Variations
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Julie A. Washington
    University of Michigan Ann Arbor
  • Holly K. Craig
    University of Michigan Ann Arbor
  • Contact author: Julie A. Washington, PhD, Communicative Disorders Clinic, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2054. Email: julieaw@umich.edu
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 1998
Socioeconomic Status and Gender Influences on Children's Dialectal Variations
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1998, Vol. 41, 618-626. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4103.618
History: Received December 10, 1996 , Accepted September 20, 1997
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1998, Vol. 41, 618-626. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4103.618
History: Received December 10, 1996; Accepted September 20, 1997

This investigation compares dialect use by African American children differing in socioeconomic status (SES) and gender. Subjects were 5- and 6-year-old boys (n = 30) and girls (n = 36), who were kindergartners attending schools in the Metropolitan Detroit area. Comparisons of the amount of dialect in the children's spontaneous discourse revealed systematic differences relative to SES and gender in the frequencies but not the forms of dialect in use. Children from lower-income homes, and boys, were more marked dialect users than their middle-class peers or girls. The sociolinguistic implications of the findings are 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 Amy Kushmaul, Mollie McRoberts, Maureen Noone, and Connie ThompsonPorter for their contributions to various aspects of the project. Special thanks also to the administrators, staff, and students in the Oak Park, MI, public schools.
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