The Effectiveness of Code-Switching Strategies on Speakers of Black English Dialect
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Research on Black English dialect indicates that it is often perceived as an inferior language, and speakers of Black English dialect face the possibility of linguistic discrimination in employment and education. A review of related literature indicated that speakers of Black English dialect have the ability to code-switch, or replace nonstandard features of English with features of standard English. This study examined whether code-switching strategies could improve the oral and written communication skills of speakers of Black English dialect. A review of literature examined relevant theories and identified the structural features of Black English dialect. Instructional strategies and programs were also examined. The participants were fifth graders from regular education classrooms. Fifteen students were participants in the control group, and fifteen students were participants in the experimental group. A pretest and posttest was administered using the Language Assessment for American Standard English (LAASE). An instructional strategy called contrastive analysis was used, and Black English dialect was included in the instruction. Twelve structural features of Black English dialect were compared and contrasted over a six week period. Dunn's t-test for multiple comparisons was used to analyze the data. The results of this study indicated: there was a significant difference in the LAASE pretest scores and the posttest scores of the experimental group and the control group; there was no significant difference in the posttest scores of the control group; and finally, there was a signficant difference on the pretest and posttest scores of students who received instruction using code-switching strategies.
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