Congruity and Predictability between Two Measures of Nonstandard Dialect Usage on Four Grammatical Forms This study investigated whether Nonstandard English (NSE) dialect responses to an examiner-constructed sentence completion test were congruent with and predictive of use of NSE during spontaneous conversation. The sentence completion test was designed to evoke either NSE or Standard English (SE) dialect variants of four grammatical forms for which the ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 1986
Congruity and Predictability between Two Measures of Nonstandard Dialect Usage on Four Grammatical Forms
 
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Article Information
Research Article   |   February 01, 1986
Congruity and Predictability between Two Measures of Nonstandard Dialect Usage on Four Grammatical Forms
Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, February 1986, Vol. 51, 42-52. doi:10.1044/jshd.5101.42
History: Received September 25, 1984 , Accepted October 21, 1985
 
Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, February 1986, Vol. 51, 42-52. doi:10.1044/jshd.5101.42
History: Received September 25, 1984; Accepted October 21, 1985

This study investigated whether Nonstandard English (NSE) dialect responses to an examiner-constructed sentence completion test were congruent with and predictive of use of NSE during spontaneous conversation. The sentence completion test was designed to evoke either NSE or Standard English (SE) dialect variants of four grammatical forms for which the NSE dialect variants are highly stigmatized. The 76 Black male subjects were between the ages of 15:8 and 23:5 years. The grammatical forms assessed were verb-subject agreement third person singular, negative concord, possessive suffix, and continuative be. A low but statistically significant correlation was found between the percentage of NSE usage on the test and during conversation when all four grammatical forms were combined (r = .2344, p < .05). Only the possessive suffix form showed a statistically significant correlation between the two measures when correlations were computed for individual grammatical forms (r = .4341, p < .05). Thus, congruency was interpreted to be highly variable and dependent on the particular grammatical form. To measure predictability, data were inspected for each grammatical form to determine the percentage of subjects who used at least one NSE dialect variant for sentence completion test items when at least one NSE variant of that form occurred during spontaneous conversation. Responses to the sentence completion test were predictive of NSE during conversation for more than 90% of the subjects only for the negative concord grammatical form. It was concluded that the sentence completion test is satisfactorily congruent with and predictive of patterns of dialect used in spontaneous conversation only for certain specific grammatical forms. Some possible reasons for these variable results and their implications for second dialect assessment are offered.

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