Deletion, Omission, Reduction: Redefining the Language We Use to Talk About African American English Purpose This article (a) highlights ways in which our field has used deficit language to describe the linguistic features of African American English (AAE); (b) describes the impact this has on research, preservice education, clinical practice, and education at large; and (c) provides strategies for highlighting positive, noncomparative ways ... Article
Article  |   September 19, 2018
Deletion, Omission, Reduction: Redefining the Language We Use to Talk About African American English
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Megan-Brette Hamilton
    Department of Communication Disorders, Auburn University, Auburn, AL
  • Eusabia V. Mont
    Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
  • Cameron McLain
    Department of Communication Disorders, Auburn University, Auburn, AL
  • Disclosures
    Disclosures ×
  • Financial: Megan-Brette Hamilton has no relevant financial interests to disclose. Eusabia V. Mont has no relevant financial interests to disclose. Cameron McLain has no relevant financial interests to disclose.
    Financial: Megan-Brette Hamilton has no relevant financial interests to disclose. Eusabia V. Mont has no relevant financial interests to disclose. Cameron McLain has no relevant financial interests to disclose.×
  • Nonfinancial: Megan-Brette Hamilton has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose. Eusabia V. Mont has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose. Cameron McLain has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose.
    Nonfinancial: Megan-Brette Hamilton has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose. Eusabia V. Mont has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose. Cameron McLain has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose.×
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / School-Based Settings / Part 3
Article   |   September 19, 2018
Deletion, Omission, Reduction: Redefining the Language We Use to Talk About African American English
Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, September 2018, Vol. 3, 107-117. doi:10.1044/persp3.SIG1.107
History: Received February 1, 2018 , Revised June 29, 2018 , Accepted July 11, 2018
Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, September 2018, Vol. 3, 107-117. doi:10.1044/persp3.SIG1.107
History: Received February 1, 2018; Revised June 29, 2018; Accepted July 11, 2018

Purpose This article (a) highlights ways in which our field has used deficit language to describe the linguistic features of African American English (AAE); (b) describes the impact this has on research, preservice education, clinical practice, and education at large; and (c) provides strategies for highlighting positive, noncomparative ways to talk about the linguistic features of African American English.

Conclusion The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association's stance on difference versus disorder is clear; a cultural–linguistic difference does not constitute a disorder. However, it is difficult to fully embrace the concept of difference versus disorder when the same language used to describe communication disorders is the same language used to describe cultural–linguistic differences. This is particularly true with regard to AAE. In order for this construct to be fully understood, supported, and embraced, there is a need to change the language used to describe the linguistic features of AAE by describing what this linguistic system is, in and of itself.

Acknowledgments
We want to thank all of the African American English–speaking children and adults we have worked with over the years who continue to challenge and shape our perspectives about cultural–linguistic variations and their role in our discipline. We would also like to extend our sincere gratitude to Drs. Yvette Hyter, Christine Mallinson, Anne H. Charity Hudley, and Simone Gibson, along with their colleagues, for saying “yes” to contributing their expert, varied, and positive perspectives to the ongoing conversation on African American English.
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