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ERIC Number: ED136275
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1975
Pages: 26
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Language Production as a Function of Social Distance.
Silverman, Thalia Pappas
The need to find which social contexts elicit children's fullest language repertoire generated this study of the effects of three social distance variables on language production, as measured by mean length of communication unit, vocabulary diversity, and use of black English. The social distance variables investigated included race and sex of adult questioners, socioeconomic status of adult questioners, and socioeconomic status of subjects. The Semantic Differential Scale of Social Distance (SDSD), an original measurement instrument, was administered to 48 black, sixth-grade males from two socioeconomic groups. Later, subjects conversed on the topic of television with adult interviewers, of various sexes and races, to whom they were randomly assigned. A three-way interaction design accommodated the three social distance factors, and SDSD attitude scores were correlated with mean length of communication unit and use of black English. Subjects conversing with black adults were found to use black English to a greater degree. No other main effects or interaction effects were found to be significant. It was hypothesized that mean length of communication unit and vocabulary diversity were governed by the subjects' underlying linguistic patterns, whereas the use of black English was governed by social rules which promoted solidarity with the black interviewers. (Author/KS)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A