ERIC Number: ED058337
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1971-Oct
Reference Count: 0
Nonstandard American English of Socially Disadvantaged Negro Children. Final Report.
Marwit, Samuel, J.; And Others
It has recently been noted that Negro children, especially those of lower socioeconomic status, have a language system whose phonological and grammatical rules differ in predictable ways from the rules governing the standard English used by most white Americans. Four features of Negro non- standard American English have been noted with predictable regularity: zero copula, singularization of plural objects, zero possessive, and the use of "be" to represent time extension. The present research attempted to empirically validate the existence of these distinguishing features by having two Negro and two white examiners administer a task requiring 93 Negro and 108 white second graders to derive the present, plural, possessive, and time extension forms of nonsense syllables. In general, the results support the hypotheses. For each dimension, white children supplied more standard English endings and Negro children more nonstandard English endings. All results were relatively independent of subjects' socioeconomic status. These findings suggest that most Negro children approach the traditional school situation with a language system whose grammar is different from, rather than deficient in relation to, that of their white peers and that of the standard tongue adopted by the school. It is recommended that more research data be collected and the results, if consistent, be incorporated into future curricula developments. (Author/JM)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Education (DHEW), Washington, DC. Bureau of Research.
Authoring Institution: Missouri Univ., St. Louis.