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 Charko @ *University of Massachusetts-Amherst + University of New Hampshire
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The Psychological Corporation,
who collected the data,
a host of dedicated graduate and
undergraduate students, and
our colleagues in the
UMass NIH Working Groups on AAE.
We are comparing MAE learners to “AAE learners”
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
“Match”: child’s form matches adult MAE form
“Non-match”: child’s form does not match adult MAE match
Specific to AAE
NOT characteristic of MAE
Common to AAE
Seymour & Seymour, 1977
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?)Key Segmental Features of AAE Predicted to be Contrastive
Same structural repertoire but
Thus, phonotactic structures tend to be less complex
Previous cross-linguistic research has shown that frequency of occurrence impacts rate and order of phonological acquisition:
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?
Children tested by The Psychological Corporation as part of the standardization process for the DELV.
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 lower-income homes)
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
*Non-morphological cluster targets
Phonetic (segmental) non-match:
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.
p = .034 (chi-square)
p <.0001 for age and dialect, even without voiced “th”.
Unexpected result: Non-morphological final /s, z/
mastered earlier by AAE learners
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:
Initial cluster mismatch types of which tend to be omitted -- no surprise.