Index of Productive Syntax for Children Who Speak African American English Purpose The validity of the Index of Productive Syntax (IPSyn; Scarborough, 1990) for children who speak African American English (AAE) was evaluated by conducting an item analysis and a comparison of the children’s scores as a function of their maternal education level, nonmainstream dialect density, age, and clinical status. ... Research Article
Research Article  |   July 01, 2010
Index of Productive Syntax for Children Who Speak African American English
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Janna B. Oetting
    Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge
  • Brandi L. Newkirk
    Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge
  • Lekeitha R. Hartfield
    Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge
  • Christy G. Wynn
    Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge
  • Sonja L. Pruitt
    San Diego State University, CA
  • April W. Garrity
    Armstrong Atlantic State University, Savannah, GA
  • Contact author: Janna B. Oetting, Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders, 64 Hatcher Hall, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803. E-mail: cdjanna@lsu.edu.
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Research Articles
Research Article   |   July 01, 2010
Index of Productive Syntax for Children Who Speak African American English
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2010, Vol. 41, 328-339. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2009/08-0077)
History: Received July 11, 2008 , Accepted May 18, 2009
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2010, Vol. 41, 328-339. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2009/08-0077)
History: Received July 11, 2008; Accepted May 18, 2009
Web of Science® Times Cited: 12

Purpose The validity of the Index of Productive Syntax (IPSyn; Scarborough, 1990) for children who speak African American English (AAE) was evaluated by conducting an item analysis and a comparison of the children’s scores as a function of their maternal education level, nonmainstream dialect density, age, and clinical status.

Method The data were language samples from 62 children; 52 of the children were between the ages of 4 and 6 years and were classified as developing typically, and 10 were 6 years old with specific language impairment (SLI).

Results All IPSyn items were produced by at least 1 child, and 88% of the items were produced by 50% or more of the children. The children’s IPSyn scores were unrelated to maternal education level and dialect density and were visually comparable to IPSyn scores reported for children who speak mainstream English. Nevertheless, IPSyn could not be used to detect differences between the 4- to 6-year-olds based on age, nor could it be used to detect differences between the 6-year-olds with and without SLI.

Conclusion IPSyn is a valid measure for AAE speakers, but it can be insensitive to age and clinical differences between children who are over the age of 48 months.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Appreciation is extended to the children who provided the data for the study and to the caregivers and teachers who supported the research. Appreciation is also extended to Lesli Cleveland, Heidi Huckabee, and Beth Wooden, who helped with the elicitation and transcription of the language samples, and to Michael Hegarty, Ann Mulkern, and Janet McDonald, who helped with the IPSyn coding criteria and/or the analyses. For 15 of the participants studied here, preliminary IPSyn scores were calculated as part of an MA thesis by Emily Jones. These data were presented at the 2008 annual convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in Chicago, IL.
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