Development of Auxiliaries in Young Children Learning African American English Purpose We examined language samples of young children learning African American English (AAE) to determine if and when their use of auxiliaries shows dialect-universal and dialect-specific effects. Method The data were longitudinal language samples obtained from two children, ages 18 to 36 months, and three children, ages 33 ... Research Article
Research Article  |   July 01, 2016
Development of Auxiliaries in Young Children Learning African American English
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Brandi L. Newkirk-Turner
    Jackson State University, MS
  • Janna B. Oetting
    Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge
  • Ida J. Stockman
    Michigan State University, East Lansing
  • 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 Brandi L. Newkirk-Turner: brandi.l.newkirk@jsums.edu
  • Editor: Marilyn Nippold
    Editor: Marilyn Nippold×
  • Associate Editor: Sonja Pruitt-Lord
    Associate Editor: Sonja Pruitt-Lord×
Article Information
Development / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Research Articles
Research Article   |   July 01, 2016
Development of Auxiliaries in Young Children Learning African American English
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2016, Vol. 47, 209-224. doi:10.1044/2016_LSHSS-15-0063
History: Received August 31, 2015 , Revised December 14, 2015 , Accepted January 10, 2016
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2016, Vol. 47, 209-224. doi:10.1044/2016_LSHSS-15-0063
History: Received August 31, 2015; Revised December 14, 2015; Accepted January 10, 2016

Purpose We examined language samples of young children learning African American English (AAE) to determine if and when their use of auxiliaries shows dialect-universal and dialect-specific effects.

Method The data were longitudinal language samples obtained from two children, ages 18 to 36 months, and three children, ages 33 to 51 months. Dialect-universal analyses examined age of first form and early uses of BE, DO, and modal auxiliaries. Dialect-specific analyses focused on rates of overt marking by auxiliary type and syntactic construction and for BE by surface form and succeeding element.

Results Initial production of auxiliaries occurred between 19 and 24 months. The children's forms were initially restricted and produced in syntactically simple constructions. Over time, they were expanded in ways that showed their rates of marking to vary by auxiliary type, their rates of BE and DO marking to vary by syntactic construction, and their rates of BE marking to vary by surface form and succeeding element.

Conclusions Development of auxiliaries by young children learning AAE shows both dialect-universal and dialect-specific effects. The findings are presented within a development chart to guide clinicians in the assessment of children learning AAE and in the treatment of AAE-speaking children with language impairment.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by a Dissertation Fellowship from the Louisiana State University Graduate School and a New Century Doctoral Scholars Award from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation, both awarded to the first author. Gratitude is extended to Jennifer Kudsin for assisting with data organization and Pamela Hadley for feedback on an earlier version of this article.
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