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Adolescents use the language of peers as models for dialect acquisition in ways that sometimes diverge from their family or home variety, often leading to broad heterogeneity and unpredictability during adolescence and early adulthood. Participants in Grade 6, 8, and 10 were paired with a same-sex peer partner and interviewed in dyads. In this chapter, using an analytical model based on Communication Accommodation Theory (CAT), we establish participants’ convergence to or divergence from the peer partner. The study analyzes these accommodation patterns in adolescent African American dyads through the use of the scores from the Dialect Density Measure (DDM) composite index and an analysis for assessing relative similarity within dyads for large dyadic samples. The results reveal that samples exhibiting high and significant intra-class correlations (ICC) indicate more accommodation in terms of the DDM than those with low, non-significant ICCs. The study uncovers important gender differences in accommodative patterns intersecting with grade level as well as a role for ethnic identity. Ethnically salient features are employed as resources for accommodation for both girls and boys, but in different ways.
Most linguistic theories of language socialization from childhood to early adulthood are based on cross-sectional studies or case studies of individuals. The Frank Porter Graham (FPG) project radically breaks from this tradition by examining the longitudinal development of more than 70 African American children for the first 21 years of their lives. The result is an unprecedented, comprehensive study that offers insight into the trajectory of change from pre-school through post-secondary education for speakers of African American Language (AAL) and the primary factors that influence these changes during this vital stage in the lifespan.
In this chapter, we consider trajectories of change in vernacular African American Language (AAL) based on a set of seven temporal data points, from 48 months of age to post-secondary (19-21 years of age), using a Dialect Density Measure (DDM). Although different trajectories are uncovered, the predominant pattern is the “roller-coaster effect,” in which children’s vernacular index entering school recedes over the first four grades, accelerates during sixth to eighth grade, then recedes again as they proceed through secondary and post-secondary school. Comparison of token-based and type-based inventories show a high correlation in the results, and most individual variables also follow this pattern. However, some variables that are acquired during the later acquisition phase, such as ‘habitual be’ and copula/auxiliary absence, may show divergent patterns over the early lifespan.
In this chapter, we examine the relationship between the vernacularity of caretaker speech as represented by the participants’ mothers and the subjects in the FPG sample. In this chapter, we examine the relationship between the vernacularity of caretaker speech as represented by the participants’ mothers and the subjects in the FPG sample. The analysis indicates that a significant relationship between the relative vernacularity of AAL-speaking mothers and their children exists across most of the early lifespan. Further, the analysis of the impact of relevant social and family factors on the development of AAL vernacularity reveals gender as a significant determiner at only the earliest and the latest points in the early lifespan. Finally, the analysis uncovers the nuanced picture of the relationship between mothers’ and children’s vernacularity – that adolescent females from low-vernacular families are likely to become low-vernacular speakers (like their mothers) in older adolescence. Finally, we see the departure of the children from the parents in the early stages of schooling, following the roller coaster trajectory described in the overall trajectory of vernacularity described for morphosyntactic features.
The monumental research project reported here emerges at a crucial juncture in the field, bridging work on individual variation across distinct life stages with more traditional questions related to community variation, style, and change. The project expands previous approaches to African American Language (AAL) by considering the interaction between life stages, a host of social variables, and language use. The participants come from a wide variety of neighborhoods and communities, allowing us to move beyond the tradition of prioritizing highly vernacular speakers from ethnically homogenous communities to investigate the relationship between segregation and language variation. The depth and breadth of this study adds a new richness to our understanding of AAL as it relates to distinct life stages and social contexts. It also represents a more inclusive and comprehensive variationist perspective by adding to the analytical toolkit the composite dialect index that has traditionally been eschewed and dismissed by variationists in favor of myopically focused isolated, single linguistic structures. Though this methodological inclusion is controversial in variationist studies, we have offered empirical evidence and argued for its methodological utility and its theoretical validity as a complement to traditional variation studies.
This chapter examines the relationship between the use of African American Language (AAL) and the third grade outcomes of the development of reading skills and academic success assessments. Third grade is of particular importance because it is the point when standardized testing takes place for the first time and many future achievement patterns are set. Children’s reading skills were measured by standard scores on the different components of the Woodcock & Johnson test in third grade, including the Letter-Word ID task testing the child’s knowledge of letters and words, the Passage Comprehension items assessing reading comprehension, and the Word Attack Skills section evaluating the child’s phoneme/grapheme knowledge. The analysis suggests that more regular observed use of AAL in early elementary school is related to the development of Mainstream American English language and literacy skills above and beyond the effects previously attributed to home and school factors. The results further found that AAL use was significantly related to lower scores on Letter-Word ID test, but not on the other two reading tests. The regression results imply that when a child encounters different language varieties at home and in the classroom, it may make it more difficult for young learners to develop decoding and vocabulary skills.
The approach to language variation developed over the last half century has focused on systematic variation of variants for a single structural unit under the construct of the linguistic variable. While this approach may offer important detail for particular variables, it is essential to examine the overall configuration of a language variety as well. Composite linguistic measures facilitate the exploration of social factors and offer a profile of change for the entire linguistic system. We describe the methodological tools to provide a global description of language variation, “the composite index”, and to fully capture when and why individuals change their linguistic behavior over time. We emphasize the need to view language as a system by moving beyond individual variables to more fully characterize the ways in which individual linguistic features move in-tandem across the lifespan. The study demonstrates that a composite index score like the Dialect Density Measure (DDM) can be used as a means of tracking trajectories of language use across the lifespan on a unidimensional scale.
In this chapter, we consider stylistic shifting at several different temporal points, Grades 1/2, Grade 6, and Grade 8. Utilizing different strategies for eliciting formal and informal speech (presenting a planned speech for a parent audience vs. having lunch with a peer), we then compare the DDM scores in the two activities, using both a difference score and a ratio score to determine the shift between styles at the three temporal datapoints. Three main trajectories of shifting behavior take place during elementary and middle school. First, some speakers exhibit a general increase over time, indicating that speakers are engaging in more and more shifting as they age. Second, there is also an inverted V pattern, which shows that by Grade 6, shifting ability has increased, but in Grade 8 they are shifting less. Since these speakers are engaging in shifting behavior in Grade 6, it seems unlikely that they lose the ability to shift in Grade 8; instead, perhaps other outside factors may be influencing their linguistic behavior. The results suggest that the speakers have developed an increased ability to shift their language in response to contextual differences by the time they reach middle school. Age clearly plays an important role, with speakers shifting more as they get older, but gender also proves to be a relevant motivator for style shift.
The analysis of vowel spaces for a subset of speakers in the Frank Porter Graham (FPG) study indicates that children and adolescents do not modify vowel pronunciations across the lifespan in the way that they alter morphosyntactic structures. Pockets of change (e.g., the price vowel), however, suggest that vowel variants potentially involved in community-wide change are more likely to be modified by children and adolescents, suggesting that children and adolescents do play a critical role in sound change. The analysis further reveals that the vowel patterns correlate strongly with school racial demographics, once again illustrating the formative role schools play in child and adolescent language. When considering lifespan change, different institutions impact the social experience of each age group. For example, the intensification of segregation that children experience within the school system differs from adults in the workforce. Within the United States, workplaces are more diverse and less segregated than school systems, suggesting that the combined forces of exposure with changing social identities lead to changing linguistic behavior. It appears, however, that such changes do not impact vowels in the same way they do morphosyntactic variables analyzed with the Dialect Density Measure (DDM).
From birth to early adulthood, all aspects of a child's life undergo enormous development and change, and language is no exception. This book documents the results of a pioneering longitudinal linguistic survey, which followed a cohort of sixty-seven African American children over the first twenty years of life, to examine language development through childhood. It offers the first opportunity to hear what it sounds like to grow up linguistically for a cohort of African American speakers, and provides fascinating insights into key linguistics issues, such as how physical growth influences pronunciation, how social factors influence language change, and the extent to which individuals modify their language use over time. By providing a lens into some of the most foundational questions about coming of age in African American Language, this study has implications for a wide range of disciplines, from speech pathology and education, to research on language acquisition and sociolinguistics.
The Belgian Health Care Knowledge Centre (KCE) formally involves stakeholders in HTA since 2012. Patients are treated as one stakeholder amongst others, but it is recognized that patient involvement (PI) requires a different approach. The success of implementing PI depends, however, on the organizational culture toward PI.
The objective of this study was to map the PI culture at KCE in the context of the development of organization-wide supported position statements about PI.
A nominal group technique was used to measure the PI culture at KCE. Arguments for and against PI and conditions for PI in different phases of the HTA process were collected. A literature review and interviews fed the draft position statements, for which support was assessed by means of a two-round Delphi process.
Arguments in favor of PI in HTA related to the relevance of the scope, expertise with data collection, bringing in fresh ideas for study design, access to survey participants, validation of data analyses, adherence to recommendations. Disadvantages and risks included the lack of scientific knowledge of involved patients, resources requirements, conflicts of interest, and heterogeneity within patient populations. Conditions for meaningful PI referred to measures mitigating the identified disadvantages. Eighteen position statements supported by KCE could be formulated.
The KCE culture seems predominantly positive toward PI, although attitudes vary between HTA researchers. KCE recognizes the potential value of PI in HTA, but considers the level of involvement to be contingent on the topic and phase in the HTA process.