1932

Abstract

Socioeconomic status (SES) differences in language development are ubiquitous, but existing research has yet to wrestle with how language gaps reflect () differences in relevant concepts for communication, () comprehension strategies to access meanings, and () production practices that express social identity. In child-directed input, parents use verbs to describe similar concepts across SES, and the largest gaps emerge when frequent meanings are being conveyed. During comprehension, children acquire infrequent aspects of grammar across SES but differ in context-specific strategies for interpreting likely meanings. In production, children are sensitive to sociolinguistic implications and adopt context-specific strategies to signal social identity. This suggests that language is a flexible medium for communicating thoughts and that SES effects signal latent differences in meanings and identities across social classes. Whether language gaps contribute to achievement gaps may depend on the extent to which learning and communication draw on these meanings and value these identities.

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2023-01-17
2024-06-22
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