As part of a national effort to improve reading levels, spontaneous
speech samples were collected from 630 Latino, African American, and white
children in grades 2 through 4 in Georgia, California, and Pennsylvania.
In this study, data was used from 126 Latinos, and a comparison group of
28 African American and 28 white children to study their use of 3rd person
possessive pronouns, periphrastic of possessives, and attributive
-s possessives. It was found that Latino children confused
his for her and her for his; used more
periphrastic of constructions; and omitted the attributive
-s marker in noun + -s + noun constructions.
Multivariate analyses revealed that beyond Spanish influence, speaker sex,
language origin, and grade also affected the expression of possession.
Most striking are the differences according to speaker sex, and between
Mexican and Puerto Rico origin children, which are considered in light of
the closer relationship between Puerto Ricans and African Americans in
Philadelphia.The research on which this
report is based was carried out at the Linguistics Laboratory of the
University of Pennsylvania, supported by NSF and the Interagency
Educational Research Initiative as proposal 0115676 and the Spencer
Foundation under Grant 200200074.