Communication Sciences and Disorders

Rivers Reports on Communication Skills Used by African American Children, Adolescents

Written By: Karen Guin | February 4, 2015

Blue textbook about communication skills

Associate Professor Kenyatta Rivers is a co-author of two studies on the language of African American children and adolescents published in the latest issue of the peer-reviewed journal Topics in Language Disorders. He also served as the issue’s co-editor and is co-author of its Foreward.

“Much of the literature on the language of many African American children and adolescents has focused on the structure and meaning of African American English (AAE), a variety of American English,” Rivers said. “Less has been published on the social uses of AAE by its speakers to influence others and make sense of different situations between and among conversational partners.”

The issue begins with an article by Rivers and co-authors Yvette Hyter and Glenda DeJarnette titled “Pragmatic Language of African American Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Synthesis of the Literature.” The authors synthesized information from 55 peer-reviewed journal articles and dissertations, and their article summarizes the major research findings and implications.

A second article by these authors, “Ways of Examing Speech Acts in Young African American Children: Considering Inside-out and Outside-in Approaches,” reports on the communication skills used by many AAE children and adolescent speakers when interacting with others.

“Our description of the kinds of communication skills used by this population in social settings should increase the ability of speech-language pathologists, educators and other professionals to distinguish behaviors that represent a language difference from a language disorder,” Rivers said.

The citations for these articles appear below:
Hyter, Y. D., Rivers, K. O., & DeJarnette, G. (2015). Pragmatic language of African American children and adolescents: A Synthesis of the literature. Topics in Language Disorders, Vol. 35, 1:8-45.
DeJarnett, G., Rivers, K. O., & Hyter, Y. D. (2015). Ways of examining speech acts in young African American children: Considering inside-out and outside-in approaches. Topics in Language Disorders, Vol. 35, 1:61-75.

gift box
To help fund student scholarships, faculty excellence and innovative programming.

Related News Articles

Gift box icon


To help fund student scholarships, faculty excellence and innovative programing.
Support UCF