Socioeconomic status and gender influences on children's dialectal variations.

  • Washington J
  • Craig H
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Abstract

This investigation compares dialect use by African American children differing in socioeconomic status (SES) and gender. Subjects were 5- and 6-year-old boys (n = 30) and girls (n = 36), who were kindergartners attending schools in the Metropolitan Detroit area. Comparisons of the amount of dialect in the children's spontaneous discourse revealed systematic differences relative to SES and gender in the frequencies but not the forms of dialect in use. Children from lower-income homes, and boys, were more marked dialect users than their middle-class peers or girls. The sociolinguistic implications of the findings are discussed.

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Authors

  • Julie A. Washington

  • Holly K Craig

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