Language Deficits or Differences: What We Know about African American Vernacular English in the 21st Century

  •  Yvette R. Harris    
  •  Valarie M. Schroeder    


This focus of this paper is to present an overview of the current research which examines the language and literacy performance of African American children who speak African American Vernacular English (AAVE), as presented from a deficit versus difference perspective. Language and literacy and assessment and remediation of AAVE speakers are discussed in sections one and two. Section three of the paper provides theoretical and methodological suggestions to educational psychologists, speech pathologists and developmental psychologists investigating AAVE speakers, on ways to gain a better appreciation for, and understanding of, the intricacies associated with African American Vernacular English. The paper closes with a discussion of the litigation and controversies surrounding AAVE.

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