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Children's Sociolinguistic Competence and Dialect Diversity


by Susan M. Ervin-Tripp 1972

Comparisons of social groups in the development of language and of cognitive functions mediated by or tested through language are common. These studies, to the extent that they focus on comparisons of underlying abilities, are only possible if the investigator has enough sociolinguistic knowledge to construct data-collecting situations which are comparable in a deep rather than superficial sense. These studies of children of varying social backgrounds can be contrasted with studies of sociolinguistic competence in pure form. These need not be comparative at all. Their focus is the systematic relation of features of the children's language and the social milieu of speech, hearing, and talk about speech. In this chapter we shall focus on both comparative studies and developmental sociolinguistics and suggest some research problems which still face us, with particular attention to social dialects.


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This article originally appeared as NSSE Yearbook Vol 71, No. 2.


Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 73 Number 6, 1972, p. 123-160
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 19511, Date Accessed: 12/13/2017 5:49:48 PM

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About the Author
  • Susan Ervin-Tripp
    University of California, Berkeley
    E-mail Author
    SUSAN M. ERVIN-TRIPP is a professor at the Institute of Human Learning at the University of California, Berkeley.
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