Relationships among African American English (AAE), linguistic knowledge, and spelling skills were examined in a sample of 92 children in grades one through three whose speech varied in the frequency of morphosyntactic AAE features. Children were separated into groups of high (AAE speakers) and low (standard American English, SAE, speakers) use of AAE features in speech, and asked to produce, recognize, and spell four inflected grammatical morphemes because variable omission of these endings in speech is a morphosyntactic characteristic of AAE. The groups differed in their spelling and elicited spoken production of inflections, but not recognition of these forms. AAE speakers omitted the inflections more often at each grade. Density of morphosyntactic AAE features in speech was related directly to spelling inflections, but this effect was mediated by children’s understanding of standard grammatical forms.
Reading and Writing – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 29, 2006
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