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date: 18 November 2017

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter reviews studies of developing language by children who are acquiring African American English (AAE). It focuses specifically on the acquisition period from birth up to age four. The reviewed studies of language form, content, and use includes children who were typical learners of AAE within the zero-four age range and studies that provided descriptions of their spontaneous language sampled in natural settings at two or more ages. Single-age studies with multiple data points within this age range were also included under certain circumstances. The review shows that African American children who acquire AAE are no exception to the longstanding evidence that children acquire the language system to which they are exposed from a very early age. Finally, the chapter highlights literature gaps and potential areas of future language acquisition research on the language of African American children prior to age four.

Keywords: language development, language acquisition, children, African American English (AAE)

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