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ERIC Number: ED139041
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1976
Pages: 71
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Auxiliary Structure and Syntactic Maturity in the Naturalistic Speech of Lower-class Urban Black Pre-school Children.
Gray, Barbara Quint
This study examined the syntax of the naturalistic speech of 15 three-to-five-year-old urban, lower-class black children, to determine (1) their syntactic maturity compared to white middle-class children of the same age, as measured by mean utterance length, types of transformations used, and number of sentence-combining transformations per t-unit and (2) the range and nature of their nonstandard verb, question, and negation structures. The data were spontaneous speech samples volunteered by the participants, who were male and female children enrolled in a Head Start program in Harlem. Findings showed that the subjects' syntactic maturity was comparable to that of their white, middle-class counterparts. Syntactic differences were primarily due to omissions (usually of tense-bearing elements) and to different restrictions on transformations. There was no evidence to support suggestions of deep structure differences between standard English and black English vernacular. There was some evidence to suggest that young children do not produce as wide a variety of nonstandard forms as do their older counterparts. (Author/AA)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A