Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Sanders, Robert E., 1944-||Shearer, William M.||Andrews, James R.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Speech




The spontaneous speech of three speakers, which represented three levels of usage of Black language was evaluated by 86 Black male high school students in Chicago. The levels consisted of near standard English, extreme usage of Black language and language usage that represented the midline between the two. Language levels were rated using a semantic differential technique which consisted of scales suggested by Osgood, et al. (1957) and scales developed in the present study from adjectives derived from a Black population. The results indicated that the two types of semantic differential scales produced inverse ratings. According to Osgood's scales, the near standard English speaker elicited most favorable attitudes, and the extreme speaker of Black language was viewed least favorably; the middle speaker received ratings between the others on all but one of the scales. Conversely, the scales derived from the Black population indicated that the speaker of Black language was viewed most favorably, the near standard speaker received considerably less favorable attitudes and the middle speaker received ratings that were slightly lower than the near standard speaker on two of these scales. The results of the present investigation leave the validity of previous research designed to measure attitudes of minority groups through the utilization of the semantic differential technique open to question. Suggestions are offered for future research.


Includes bibliographical references.


ix, 49 pages




Northern Illinois University

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