The Role of Dialect Density in Nonword Repetition Performance: An Examination with At-risk African American Preschool Children

Document Type




Format of Original

15 p.

Publication Date



Informa Healthcare

Source Publication

Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics

Source ISSN


Original Item ID

doi: 10.3109/02699206.2014.882990


The Nonword Repetition Task (NRT) is considered to be a less-biased language measure for children from cultural minority groups. In the current study, we examined NRT performance of 50 at-risk, preschool-age children who spoke African American English (AAE). In addition to the NRT, measures included AAE dialect density and several standardised language tests. The primary aim was to determine significant contributors to NRT performance. We hypothesised that the language measures would significantly contribute to NRT performance while dialect density would be an insignificant contributor. Contrary to our predictions, dialect density was a unique and significant predictor of NRT performance (in addition to phonological awareness), while the language measures were not significant predictors. The current findings cast doubt on categorising the NRT as a less-biased language assessment for AAE-speaking preschoolers; however, the NRT may have potential as a screener for identifying preschoolers at risk for delays in literacy acquisition.


Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics, Vol. 28, No. 9 (September 2014): 682-696. DOI.

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