The Acquisition of Black Language by Spanish-Speaking Preschoolers: A Community-Based Sociolinguistic Approach to Language Assessment

Chelsea Privette, Leah Fabiano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE: The purpose of this case series was to demonstrate a community-based sociolinguistic approach to language sample analysis (LSA) for the evaluation of Spanish-English bilingual preschoolers acquiring Black language (BL). As part of a comprehensive bilingual speech-language evaluation, we examined sociolinguistic variables in the context of the children's English language samples. Specific emphasis is placed on sociolinguistic information to account for all language(s) and dialect(s) in each child's environment, BL feature patterns, and appropriate scoring procedures for characterizing language use. METHOD: This case series includes four monolingual English-speaking and four bilingual Spanish-English-speaking 4-year-olds in a linguistically diverse preschool program. Play samples were collected from each child and coded for morphosyntactic features across three categories: BL, Spanish-Influenced English, and shared. Measures derived from the language samples include percent grammatical utterances, mean length of utterance in words, and number of different words. The children's language is characterized within a community-based sociolinguistic approach that combines three culturally responsive methods for assessment found in the speech-language pathology literature in addition to a novel sociolinguistic questionnaire. RESULTS: We explain how conducting LSA using a community-based sociolinguistic approach yields diagnostically relevant information that is pertinent to conducting a comprehensive and accurate evaluation of preschoolers in linguistically diverse settings without the use of standardized assessments. CONCLUSION: A community-based sociolinguistic approach to LSA is a useful procedure for mitigating misdiagnosis in preschoolers reared in linguistically diverse environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalLanguage, speech, and hearing services in schools
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 11 2024
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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