Difference Versus Deficit in Child African American English We propose that shared features (noncontrastive) between African American English (AAE) and Standard American English (SAE) may be more diagnostically salient than features not shared (contrastive) when identifying children of AAE language backgrounds with language disorders. The syntax of child speakers of AAE with language disorders (LD) and child speakers ... Research Article
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Research Article  |   April 01, 1998
Difference Versus Deficit in Child African American English
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Harry N. Seymour, PhD
    University of Massachusetts, Department of Communication Disorders, 5 Arnold House, Amherst, MA 10002
  • Linda Bland-Stewart
    George Washington University, Washington, DC
  • Lisa J. Green
    University of Texas, Austin
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Language Disorders / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 1998
Difference Versus Deficit in Child African American English
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, April 1998, Vol. 29, 96-108. doi:10.1044/0161-1461.2902.96
History: Received August 1, 1997 , Accepted November 12, 1997
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, April 1998, Vol. 29, 96-108. doi:10.1044/0161-1461.2902.96
History: Received August 1, 1997; Accepted November 12, 1997

We propose that shared features (noncontrastive) between African American English (AAE) and Standard American English (SAE) may be more diagnostically salient than features not shared (contrastive) when identifying children of AAE language backgrounds with language disorders. The syntax of child speakers of AAE with language disorders (LD) and child speakers of AAE without language disorders (NLD) were compared. Syntactic features were transcribed from conversational language samples of seven LD and seven NLD children, and these features were classified according to their overlapping relationship with SAE. Shared features between AAE and SAE were designated as "noncontrastive" and features not shared as "contrastive". The production of several noncontrastive linguistic features were significantly different between groups, whereas group differences were nonsignificant for all contrastive features, with the exception of the past tense /ed/ morpheme.

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