Do they talk the same language?: lexical interface and ethnicity

by Tora K. Bikson

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Spontaneous speech performance of ethnically diverse subjects is investigated by measuring within- and between-group lexical interface and by assessing direction of vocabulary overlap. Interview data were collected from 144 elementary school children, comprising equal white, Chicano and black subsamples evenly divided among lower and upper grades. Analyses focus on whether texts exhibit a single lexicon better accessed by white subjects or rather generate plural lexica accessed with comparable adequacy by each ethnic group. Similar within-group lexical styles emerged. However, interface exploration found minority lexica to be different from and broader than the white lexicon they partially subsume.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

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