Report  |   July 2004
Variable Production of African American English Across Oracy and Literacy Contexts
Author Notes
Special Populations / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Normal Language Processing
Report   |   July 2004
Variable Production of African American English Across Oracy and Literacy Contexts
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools July 2004, Vol.35, 269-282. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2004/025)
History: Accepted 11 Feb 2004 , Received 16 Jun 2003
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools July 2004, Vol.35, 269-282. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2004/025)
History: Accepted 11 Feb 2004 , Received 16 Jun 2003

Many African American students produce African American English (AAE) features that are contrastive to Standard American English (SAE). The AAE-speaking child who is able to dialect shift, that is, to speak SAE across literacy contexts, likely will perform better academically than the student who is not able to dialect shift.

Method: This investigation examined the AAE productions of 50 typically developing African American third graders across three language contexts—picture description, oral reading of SAE text, and writing.

Results: All participants produced AAE during picture description. A downward shift in contrastive AAE features was evident between spoken discourse and the literacy contexts. More students produced more AAE features during picture description than writing. Both morphosyntactic and phonological features characterized the picture description context. Phonological features predominated during oral reading. In contrast, morphosyntactic features were the most dominant feature in writing.

Clinical Implications: The findings are discussed in terms of dialect-shifting abilities of African American students and the role of writing as a special context to support their entry into dialect shifting.

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