Slide #1.

American Dialect Society Anaheim, CA Jan. 2006 The Impact of Dialect on the Rate and Order of Phonological Development Shelley L. Velleman*, Barbara Zurer Pearson*, Timothy J. Bryant+ & Tiffany [email protected] *University of Massachusetts-Amherst + University of New Hampshire @ Agawam Public Schools
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Slide #2.

Research supported by NIH contract N01-DC-8-2104* and NSF Award BCS-0318135 *webpage:www.umass.edu/aae Contact for information: [email protected]
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With special thanks to The Psychological Corporation, Corporation who collected the data, a host of dedicated graduate and undergraduate students, and our colleagues in the UMass NIH Working Groups on AAE.
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AAE: African American English • Also called African American Vernacular English (AAVE), Black English, Ebonics, etc. – Spoken by many Blacks in the U.S. – Pronunciation in some respects similar to Southern American English – Pronunciation and grammar in some respects similar to West African languages – Shares many characteristics with other Creole English dialects spoken by Blacks • Stigmatized in the U.S. • Children who speak AAE are often referred for special education or speech-language pathology services
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Slide #5.

Terminology We are comparing MAE learners to “AAE learners” BUT AAE learners are actually learning both dialects; AAE is their 1st dialect, so we are making the assumption that it will have the most impact on the order and rate of their phonological development
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Slide #6.

Terminology, cont. “Match”: child’s form matches adult MAE form “Non-match”: child’s form does not match adult MAE match
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Terminology, cont.: CONTRASTIVE ELEMENTS NONCONTRASTIVE ELEMENTS • Specific to AAE • Common to AAE and • NOT characteristic of MAE MAE Seymour & Seymour, 1977
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Slide #8.

Key Segmental Features of AAE Predicted to be Contrastive Same phonemic repertoire (with possible exception of voiced “th”) but • Interdental fricatives replaced by labiodentals or alveolars, depending on context • Postvocalic liquids: Vowelized, absent; /r/ hyperarticulated (varies geographically) • Final obstruents more weakened (devoiced, glottalized), especially alveolars • str-, “shr-”  skr- (lexical?)
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Slide #9.

Key Phonotactic Features of AAE Predicted to be Contrastive Same structural repertoire but • Weak syllable deletion from iambics (or “stress shift” to trochaic) • Final consonant clusters reduced at higher rate, especially /___##C • Final obstruents and nasals omitted more frequently, especially alveolars, especially /____##C • Avoid sonority violations (lexical “metathesis”, very stigmatized) Thus, phonotactic structures tend to be less complex
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Slide #10.

Impact of Ambient Language Previous cross-linguistic research has shown that frequency of occurrence impacts rate and order of phonological acquisition: – – – – – Kehoe & Lleo, 2002 Demuth, 2002 Roark & Demuth, 2000 Pearson et al., 1995 Boysson-Bardies & Vihman, 1991
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Slide #11.

Research Question What is the impact on rate and order of phonological development of learning two dialects that differ primarily with respect to frequency of occurrence, especially of complex phonotactic structures?
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Slide #12.

Hypothesis 1 • Frequency will impact rate and order of acquisition even in two dialects with the same phonemic and phonotactic inventories Non-contrastive elements  same exposure in both  equivalent mastery in both Contrastive elements  less exposure in one dialect  later mastery in that dialect
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Slide #13.

Hypothesis 2 • Phonotactic and segmental frequency will interact Most segments will be contrastive only in marked environments For AAE, only interdental fricatives will be contrastive in all environments, marked and unmarked
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Slide #14.

Hypothesis 3 • In the dialect with less exposure to more complex phonotactic structures (AAE), phonetic development will outpace phonotactic development (in comparison to MAE). – AAE will have more phonotactic nonmatches to MAE than segmental; MAE vice versa
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Slide #15.

Study sample: Female Male Total AAE 286 251 537 MAE 182 135 317 Total 468 386 854 Children tested by The Psychological Corporation as part of the standardization process for the DELV.
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Other characteristics of the sample: • Selection criteria included demographics of community of residence (predominantly African American vs. European American) • Region: South (60%), North Central (25%), Northeast (6%), West (9%) • Parent Education Level 77% ≤ HS (overselected because AAE usage is higher in lowerincome homes)
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Slide #17.

Overall Match Score by Region and Dialect 112 108 WE 104 SO NC 100 NE 96 # of matches (of 132) 92 AAE MAE
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Slide #18.

Format • Sentence repetition • Target embedded in carrier phrase “I see: a mask; ..that fish breathe under water; ..a dentist” 66 words, each containing 2 segmental targets = 132 targets 44 Contrastive: 88 Non-contrastive Copyright 2000 The Psychological Corporation
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Slide #19.

Targets Singletons Clusters* Initial 21 19 Medial 1 17 Final 19 15 Total 41 51 *Non-morphological cluster targets
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Slide #20.

Singleton stimuli Initial 21 types All (but /p/) Non Contrastive All Contrastive 31 tokens Final 19 types 33 tokens
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Slide #21.

Cluster Stimuli Types, Tokens Non-Contrastive Contrastive CC initial 16, 21 br-, dr-, kr-, fr-, pr-, tr-, gr-,sm-, st-, sk-, sp-, kr-, kl-, gl r-, “shr-” CCC initial 3, 4 skr-, spl- str- CC medial 14, 16 -nd-, -nt-, -st-, -l-, -ld- -fr-, -sk-, -kt-, -ft-, -br-, -t-, -rp- CCC medial 4, 4 -r$d-, -$br-, -n$tr-, -$str($=syllable break) CC final 15, 19 -st, -sk, -r, -rd, -rt, -rl, -rs, -lt, -nt, -ks, -mp, -ft, -ld, -lt, -rf
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Slide #22.

Coding • Match to MAE target = 1 • Nonmatch = 0 Phonetic (segmental) non-match: – Substitution – Distortion Phonotactic non-match: – Omission (consonant or syllable) – Epenthesis (consonant or syllable) – Movement (consonant or syllable)
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Slide #23.

Results for elements predicted to be contrastive Contrastive Elements by Age and Dialect 58 56 54 52 AAE MAE 50 48 46 Number of Matches 44 42 4 5 6 8 Age in Years 10 12
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Slide #24.

Results for elements predicted to be non-contrastive Non-contrastive Elements by Age and Dialect 58 56 54 52 AAE MAE 50 48 46 Number of Matches 44 42 4 5 6 8 Age in Years 10 12
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Slide #25.

H1: Comparison of non-matches per child by position Initial AAE MAE 2.81 2.86 3.82 1.76 (noncontrastive) Final (contrastive)
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Slide #26.

Non-contrastive Singleton Consonants by Age and Dialect 31 29 AAE MAE 27 Matches (of 31 tokens) 25 4 5 6 8 Age in Years 10 12
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Slide #27.

Phonetic order of acquisition: Initial consonants Initial Consonants d r, s Voiced “th” MAE Age of Mastery 4 6 8 AAE Age of Mastery 5 4 ≥12 Dialects differ at p=.014 but p=.952 without voiced “th”. All other initial consonants, including voiceless “th”, acquired at the same time in both dialect groups.
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Slide #28.

Initial /r/ substitutions by age and dialect p = .034 (chi-square)
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Slide #29.

Production of Final Consonants Score for Final Singleton Consonants by Age and Dialect 1 0.9 0.8 AAE MAE 0.7 Percent 0.6 of matches 0.5 4 5 6 7-8 9-101112
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Slide #30.

Phonetic order of acquisition: final C’s Final Consonants MAE age of mastery (90%) AAE age of mastery (90%) b, “j”, l 4 5 k, g, v 4 6 d, t 4 8 s, z 6 4 Voiced, voiceless “th” 10 ≥12 p <.0001 for age and dialect, even without voiced “th”. Unexpected result: Non-morphological final /s, z/ mastered earlier by AAE learners
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Slide #31.

Production of Initial Clusters (N.S.) Initial Clusters MAE Age of Mastery AAE Age of Mastery trkl-, pl krgr-, pr-, sp-, st- 4 5 6 6 5 4 4 5 skr“thr-” (vless) “shr-” str- 8 8 8 8 6 10 12 ≥12
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Slide #32.

Initial Cluster Dialect Differences Reminder: In AAE •str-  skr e.g., [skrit] street •“shr-”  skre.g., [skrImp] shrimp (Lexical?) Note: Even in contrastive clusters such as these, /r/ itself is relatively preserved.
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Slide #33.

Production of Final Clusters (p<.0001) Final Cluster -mp -ks, -”ng”k, -rl -rf, -nt -ld -lt -rd -rs -rt All others MAE age of mastery 4 4 4 4 4 5 6 6 various ≤10 AAE age of mastery 4 5 6, 8 10 >12 8 5 10 >12
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Slide #34.

H2 Results: Some elements contrastive in marked positions only Singleton /n/ by dialect and position 1 0.98 0.96 AAE 0.94 MAE 0.92 % MAE matches 0.9 0.88 Initial Final
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Slide #35.

Elements contrastive in marked positions Singleton /d/ by dialect and position 1 0.98 0.96 AAE 0.94 MAE 0.92 % MAE matches 0.9 0.88 Initial Final
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Slide #36.

/d/: less frequent in final position in AAE (glottalized, devoiced, omitted) • 4 years difference between AAE & MAE in final position • 1 year difference between AAE & MAE in initial position • More vulnerable in other marked contexts, e.g., more frequent non-match in unstressed syllables even in initial position (dusty vs. destroy)
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Slide #37.

Singleton /d/ by dialect and position 1 0.98 0.96 0.94 0.92 0.9 % 0.88 match to MAE 0.86 Initial AAE MAE MAE AAE Final
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Slide #38.

H2 Results: Some elements contrastive in all positions Singleton /eth/ by dialect and position 1 0.9 0.8 AAE 0.7 MAE 0.6 % MAE matches 0.5 0.4 Initial Medial Final
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Slide #39.

H3: Phonotactic vs. Segmental Non-Matches Phonotactic Non-Match Segmental NonMatch AAE 2534 (49%) 2615 (51%) MAE 514 (33%) 1046 (67%)
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Slide #40.

But that includes final consonants and final clusters, both of which tend to be omitted -- no surprise. What if we focus our analysis only on initial clusters, which are: • Not significantly different in % mismatches by dialect • Not yet mastered by either group?
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Slide #41.

Initial cluster mismatch types Mismatch Types by Age and Dialect (Initial Position) 1.2 1 0.8 % of each type 0.6 subst phon 0.4 0.2 0 AAE MAE 4 p<.0001 AAE MAE 5 AAE MAE 6
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Slide #42.

Summary 1. Certain segments (e.g., voiced “th”) and positions (e.g., ___#) are contrastive between dialects 2. A deficit model is inappropriate: Frequencies of occurrence in the dialect influence order of acquisition • MAE speakers acquire certain phonemes (t, d, interdentals) ahead of AAE speakers • AAE speakers acquire certain phonemes (s, r) ahead of MAE speakers
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Slide #43.

Summary, cont. 3. There are interactions between phonotactic and segmental frequency effects (e.g., /d/) 4. Focus on learning complex phonotactics delays acquisition of more difficult segments (MAE); decreased attention to complex phonotactics lowers age of acquisition of later segments, even in more challenging contexts (AAE)
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Slide #44.

References • • • • • • • • Boysson-Bardies, B., & Vihman, M. M. (1991). Adaptation to language: Evidence from babbling and first words in four languages. Language, 67, 297-319. Charko, T. & Velleman, S. (2003, July). The influence of dialect of children’s phonotactic constraint rankings (ND children). Poster presented at the Child Phonology Conference, UBC. Craig, H. K. & Washington,J. A. (2004). Grade-related changes in the production of African American English. JSHR, 47(2), 450-463. Kehoe, M., & Lleo, C. (2002). The acquisition of syllable types in monolingual and bilingual German and Spanish children. Paper presented at the Boston University Conference on Language Development 27, Boston, MA. Pearson, B. Z., Navarro, A. M., & Gathercole, V. M. (1995). Assessment of phonetic differentiation in bilingual learning infants, 18 to 30 months. In D. MacLaughlin & S. McEwen (Eds.), Proceedings of the 20th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development (pp. 427-438). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press. Roark, B., & Demuth, K. (2000). Prosodic constraints and the learner's environment: A corpus study. In S. C. Howell, S. A. Fish & T. Keith-Lucas (Eds.), Proceedings of the 24th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development (pp. 597-608). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press. Seymour, H.N. & Pearson, B. Z. (Eds.), 2004. Evaluating language variation: Distinguishing dialect and development from disorder. Seminars in Speech and Language, 25 (1), Seymour, H. N., Roeper, T., & de Villiers, J. (2003, 2005) Diagnostic Evaluation of Language Variation DELV, Screening Test and DELV-Norm Referenced. The Psychological Corp., San Antonio, TX.
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