What is it about?

This article looks college students' opinions about American English dialects and asked students to rate a speaker on personal attributes (for example, rich/poor and literate/illiterate) when she is speaking two dialects - African American English or General American English. While students in SLP programs report positive opinions about AAE, they also rate speakers who speak AAE lower in personal attributes.

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Why is it important?

This study is important because it shows that even when students who are training to be SLPs understand that no dialects are language disorders, they may still rate a speaker lower on personal attribute when she is speaking AAE compared to when she is speaking GAE. These results highlight how important it is that coursework and training programs in our field not only give students the information and facts about dialects in the U.S., but also start to tackle the bigger issues of negative perceptions of AAE


“I’m glad that it seems that we have made progress in teaching students that speaking AAE is not a language disorder, but I’m also eager to share this study because it points to the hard work our field still has to do to address the persistent biases in our fields.”

Alison Hendricks
University at Buffalo

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Perceptions of African American English by Students in Speech-Language Pathology Programs, American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, September 2021, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA),
DOI: 10.1044/2021_ajslp-20-00339.
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