A Comparison of Oral and Written English Styles in African American Students at Different Stages of Writing Development Purpose The purpose of this investigation was to compare the rates of using African American English (AAE) grammatical features in spoken and written language at different points in literacy development. Based on Kroll’s model (1981), a high degree of similarity in use between the modalities was expected at Grade 3, ... Research Article
Research Article  |   January 01, 2011
A Comparison of Oral and Written English Styles in African American Students at Different Stages of Writing Development
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Lennette J. Ivy
    University of Mississippi, Oxford
  • Julie J. Masterson
    Missouri State University, Springfield
  • Contact author: Lennette J. Ivy, The University of Mississippi, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, 302 George Hall, University, MS 38677. E-mail: livy@olemiss.edu.
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Research Articles
Research Article   |   January 01, 2011
A Comparison of Oral and Written English Styles in African American Students at Different Stages of Writing Development
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 2011, Vol. 42, 31-40. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2010/09-0069)
History: Received September 23, 2009 , Revised May 13, 2010 , Accepted July 10, 2010
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 2011, Vol. 42, 31-40. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2010/09-0069)
History: Received September 23, 2009; Revised May 13, 2010; Accepted July 10, 2010
Web of Science® Times Cited: 14

Purpose The purpose of this investigation was to compare the rates of using African American English (AAE) grammatical features in spoken and written language at different points in literacy development. Based on Kroll’s model (1981), a high degree of similarity in use between the modalities was expected at Grade 3, and lower similarity was expected at Grade 8.

Method Spoken and written language samples were analyzed for the occurrence of 6 AAE morphosyntactic features. Fifteen third graders and 15 eighth graders were asked to respond to interview questions and to retell stories in both modalities. Percentage use of the AAE grammatical features and a dialectal density measure were used to measure rates of AAE occurrence.

Results Findings indicated comparable use of dialect in spoken and written modalities for 3rd graders, but a difference in use between the modalities for 8th graders. The 8th graders used more dialectal features in speaking than writing.

Conclusion These results suggest that there is likely a period in writing development when speakers of AAE learn to dialect switch in their writing.

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