Master of Arts (MA)


Communication Sciences and Disorders

Document Type



The purpose of this study was to examine the clinical utility of three language sample analyses when working with low-income, African American (AA) children. Eighteen normally developing and three at-risk AA three-year-old preschoolers participated in the study. Language samples were elicited from each child during a 15-20 minute play interaction. Three language sample analyses, contrastive analysis, average sentence length, and complex syntax use, were completed on each language sample. Also coded was each child’s use of nonmainstream African American English (AAE) patterns. Only the contrastive analysis generated reliable differences between the at-risk children and the normally developing children. Other group differences that were observed in the data included the amount of talking each child produced and their rate of nonmainstream pattern use. Specifically, the at-risk children produced higher rates of nonmainstream dialect patterns when dialect rate was calculated by dividing the total number of dialect forms by the total number of words spoken. The at-risk children also talked less, but produced higher rates of nonmainstream dialect patterns than did their normal peers.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Janet Norris