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ERIC Number: EJ1126591
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1931-3152
Meaning-Less Differences: Exposing Fallacies and Flaws in "The Word Gap" Hypothesis That Conceal a Dangerous "Language Trap" for Low-Income American Families and Their Children
Baugh, John
International Multilingual Research Journal, v11 n1 p39-51 2017
The present article compares and contrasts linguistic findings from longitudinal studies of low-income Americans derived from evidence of recorded family speech interactions. Hart and Risley (1995) employed research assistants who spent 1 hour per month observing language usage among families from different socioeconomic backgrounds in their homes for 2.5 years. Baugh (1983) spent 40 hours per week during seven consecutive summers between 1969 and 1976 as a participant observer in a low-income African American community, conducting tape recorded interviews with African American families in various social circumstances during the final 4 years, which always included recorded interviews within each family home. Comparison of the linguistic results derived from the alternative data collection procedures allow for a reinterpretation of Hart and Risley's (1995, 2003) conclusions, casting doubt on their findings as well as their speculations about future linguistic prospects for Americans from diverse racial and socioeconomic backgrounds due to false positive interpretations of their results that wrongly conclude deceptively enticing causalities. Regrettably, the alleged "word gap" is another incarnation of a deficit language hypothesis that is fundamentally flawed and woefully uninformed by decades of extensive linguistic research that has been conducted by many different linguists in various American inner-city communities since 1968.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A