Theses, Dissertations, and Capstone Projects

Year of Award



Master of Science (MS)


College of Education & Allied Health


Communication Disorders and Deaf Education

First Advisor

Marie Damien Adams


african-american, children, comprehension, nonstandard english, linguistic, speech


There has been much written concerning black dialect and its syntactic features (Loman, 1967; Williams, 1970; Stewart, 196h; Dale, 1976; Barat, 1969). However, little or no research has been conducted concerning the direct relationship, if one exists, between the usage of black dialect by a mother as related to the- usage of black dialect by her offspring. This paper will examine the history of black dialect, discuss the syntactic features of black dialect, review the social conditions that encourage a black dialect, discuss the principles of imitation as related to language learning, and determine if a direct relationship can be found between the usage of black dialect by the mother as, directly related to the usage of black dialect by her offspring; based on the study of one black dialect speaking mother and her child. It is the belief of the author that there are three factors which will determine if a child will acquire and use black dialect. These factors are: (1) spontaneous imitation of black dialect from a black dialect speaking model, (2) the child's social conditions and (3) the peer interactions that a child encounters. In the author's opinion, spontaneous imitation of all of or parts of the features of black dialect have little correlation with the acquisition or usage of black dialect by the child and does not/have as much importance in i determining whether a child will use black dialect as the factors of the social conditions that a child encounters and as the child's peer interaction.

Document Type

Restricted Thesis


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Rights Statement

In Copyright