African American English–Speaking Students: A Longitudinal Examination of Style Shifting From Kindergarten Through Second Grade PurposeThe purpose of this longitudinal study was twofold: to examine shifting from African American English (AAE) to mainstream American English (MAE) across the early elementary grades, when students are first exposed to formal instruction in reading; and to examine how metalinguistic and cognitive variables influenced the students' dialectal adaptations from ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 2014
African American English–Speaking Students: A Longitudinal Examination of Style Shifting From Kindergarten Through Second Grade
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Holly K. Craig
    University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • Giselle E. Kolenic
    University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • Stephanie L. Hensel
    University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • Disclosure:The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure:The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Holly K. Craig: hkc@umich.edu
  • Editor and Associate Editor: Janna Oetting
    Editor and Associate Editor: Janna Oetting×
Article Information
Development / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / School-Based Settings / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language
Research Article   |   February 01, 2014
African American English–Speaking Students: A Longitudinal Examination of Style Shifting From Kindergarten Through Second Grade
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2014, Vol. 57, 143-157. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2013/12-0157)
History: Received May 11, 2012 , Revised November 3, 2012 , Accepted May 14, 2013
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2014, Vol. 57, 143-157. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2013/12-0157)
History: Received May 11, 2012; Revised November 3, 2012; Accepted May 14, 2013
Web of Science® Times Cited: 14

PurposeThe purpose of this longitudinal study was twofold: to examine shifting from African American English (AAE) to mainstream American English (MAE) across the early elementary grades, when students are first exposed to formal instruction in reading; and to examine how metalinguistic and cognitive variables influenced the students' dialectal adaptations from AAE to MAE in a literacy context with higher expectations for MAE.

MethodParticipants were 102 typically developing AAE-speaking students enrolled in public schools in the northern Midwest. They were enrolled in the project at kindergarten and tested 3 times a year, for 3 years. Approximately half were male and half female, and two-thirds were from low socioeconomic status homes.

ResultsA style shifting coefficient (SSC) was created to measure amounts of dialect change between contexts and over time by individuals. Some students shifted to MAE in literacy contexts, and shifting was not related to grade. Metalinguistic skills and SSC predicted reading, and metalinguistic skills predicted the SSC at 2nd grade. The findings indicated that cognitive executive functions may contribute to the SSC.

ConclusionsThe results provide strong support for the dialect shifting–reading achievement hypothesis and indicated that metalinguistic and perhaps executive functioning are important influences on this linguistic adaptation.

Acknowledgments
Funding for this study was provided by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R305A100284 to the Regents of the University of Michigan. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education. We thank the schools and students for their participation.
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