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ERIC Number: ED068236
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1972-Oct
Pages: 97
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Situations and Language: A Sociolinguistic Investigation. Final Report.
Donofrio, Rosalie Maggio
The purpose of this research was to begin to refute the deficit approach to the verbal abilities of poor children. The contention was that data collected on poor children's verbal abilities had been done in incorrect social situations. Prior research had indicated that language development is innate and that disadvantaged children will be nonverbal and/or nonsensical in situations they see as threatening, while in nonthreatening situations they will display an adequate verbal ability. The object of this research was to vary sociolinguistic variables and to create symmetrical and asymmetrical situations in order to test the propositions that such variations will (1) elicit better speech samples from poor children and (2) depress the quality and quantity of speech from middle class children. Only socioeconomic comparisons were made, though all the children were of Mexican American descent, as adjudged by Spanish surname. The sample of 40 preschool children, aged 4 and 5, was evenly divided between middle class and poor children according to which of 3 day care centers they attended--1 free, and located in the core area; the others having substantial tuitional costs. It was concluded that, when poor children are made comfortable via a symmetrical situation, they speak with greater volubility and grammatical maturity, but that middle class children function well in all social situations. It is suggested that a more accurate definition of socioeconomic status be investigated. (HBC)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: National Center for Educational Research and Development (DHEW/OE), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: N/A