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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 between the modalities was expected at Grade 3 and lower similarity expected at Grade 8.
Spoken and written language samples were analyzed for the occurrence of six AAE morphosyntactic features. Fifteen third- and 15 eighth-graders were asked to respond to interview questions and retell stories in both modalities. Percent use of the AAE grammatical features and a dialectal density measure were used to measure rates of AAE occurrence.
Findings indicate comparable use of dialect in spoken and written modalities for third-graders, but a difference in use between the modalities for the eighth-graders. The eighth-graders used more dialectal features in speaking than writing.
These results suggest there is likely a period in writing development when speakers of AAE learn to dialect-switch in their writing.
University of Mississippi.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Language, speech, and hearing services in schools
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.
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