SRCLD 2022 SRCLD Presentation Details
    Acquisition of Embedded Indirect Question forms in Typically Developing and Language Impaired African American Children  
Valerie Johnson - Montclair State University
Peter de Villiers - Smith College

SRCLD Year: 2014
Presentation Type: Special Session
Presentation Time: (na)
This study examines the acquisition of an aspect of AAE complex syntax in typically-developing and language-impaired children. Cross-sectional data come from 529 children (291 AAE-speakers) aged 4 to 9 participating in field-testing of the DELV-NR. The Communicative Role Taking subtest elicited two embedded question forms. Unlike MAE, AAE allows inversion of the embedded clause subject and auxiliary, although these forma are marked as indirect speech by changes in the pronoun. We coded elicited indirect questions for production of AAE or MAE forms. AUX-inverted embedded questions were overwhelmingly produced by AAE-speakers, not by MAE-speakers. They were only produced for indirect questions, not for indirect statements, in keeping with the grammar of AAE. TD AAE-speakers produced the AAE form for nearly 90% of their embedded questions by age 6, but production of these forms was significantly delayed in LI AAE-speaking children, not becoming frequent until age 8. Elicitation of these forms could therefore be a valuable part of any comprehensive language assessment of AA children’s AAE. Funding: NIDCD N01 DC8-2104
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