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Poverty and Language

Living in poverty can influence how an individual acquires and develops language and can determine whether or not an individual speaks with a pronounced minority or regional dialect. Poverty-related effects on language are complex and intertwined. Through socialization, a child’s home environment determines the form and quantity of linguistic stimuli, thus determining the course of language development and acquisition at an early age. Patterns of language use and linguistic stimuli in the home vary by social class, creating and perpetuating a developmental language gap that leaves children living in poverty at a relative disadvantage compared with their more affluent peers. Furthermore, living in a low-income area can determine a child’s access to an equitable education, which in turn can determine the trajectory and subsequent success ...

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