The purpose of this contract is: 1) To collect cross-sectional data on language abilities in normally developing four- to six-year-old speakers of Black English. 2) To document age-appropriate language milestone/behaviors including aspects of phonology, syntax semantics and pragmatics. 3) To use the aforementioned normative data to develop items for a language assessment instrument of procedure which could be used to differentiate between language impairment and normal language development in children who speak Black English. 4) To conduct study to determine the reliability and validity of the individual items and the overall language assessment instrument or procedure with children who speak Black English.

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University of Massachusetts Amherst
Schools of Allied Health Profes
United States
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Pearson, Barbara Zurer; Jackson, Janice E; Wu, Haotian (2014) Seeking a valid gold standard for an innovative, dialect-neutral language test. J Speech Lang Hear Res 57:495-508
Burns, Frances A; de Villiers, Peter A; Pearson, Barbara Z et al. (2012) Dialect-neutral indices of narrative cohesion and evaluation. Lang Speech Hear Serv Sch 43:132-52
de Villiers, Jill G; de Villiers, Peter A; Roeper, Thomas (2011) Wh-questions: Moving beyond the first Phase. Lingua 121:352-366
Velleman, Shelley L; Pearson, Barbara Zurer (2010) Differentiating Speech Sound Disorders From Phonological Dialect Differences: Implications for Assessment and Intervention. Top Lang Disord 30:176-188
Johnson, Valerie E; de Villiers, Jill G (2009) Syntactic frames in fast mapping verbs: effect of age, dialect, and clinical status. J Speech Lang Hear Res 52:610-22
Pearson, Barbara Z; Velleman, Shelley L; Bryant, Timothy J et al. (2009) Phonological milestones for African American English-speaking children learning mainstream American English as a second dialect. Lang Speech Hear Serv Sch 40:229-44
De Villiers, Jill G; Johnson, Valerie E (2007) The information in third-person /s/: acquisition across dialects of American English. J Child Lang 34:133-58
de Villiers, Jill G (2004) Cultural and linguistic fairness in the assessment of semantics. Semin Speech Lang 25:73-90
Seymour, Harry N (2004) The challenge of language assessment for african american english-speaking children: a historical perspective. Semin Speech Lang 25:3-12
Pearson, Barbara Zurer (2004) Theoretical and empirical bases for dialect-neutral language assessment: contributions from theoretical and applied linguistics to communication disorders. Semin Speech Lang 25:13-25

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