“Life Is Hard, But I’m Trying”

Understanding the Lives of the Families Speech-Language Pathologists Serve

Authored by: Carol Scheffner Hammer

Handbook of Qualitative Research in Communication Disorders

Print publication date:  November  2013
Online publication date:  April  2014

Print ISBN: 9781848726420
eBook ISBN: 9780203798874
Adobe ISBN: 9781134187416


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Historically, the language environments that families from low-income backgrounds provide to their children have been compared to those of middle-income families. Bernstein’s Class, Codes, and Control, Volume 1: Theoretical Studies towards a Sociology of Language (1971) is a classic example. In his book, Bernstein presented a theory of language differences. He posited that individuals used two codes: an elaborated code and a restricted code. The elaborated code provides a speaker with an extensive range of lexical and syntactic choices that can be combined in an infinite number of ways to express his ideas. Because of the possible combinations available to the speaker, the listener is not able to predict what the speaker will say. As a result, the speaker’s message can be individualized.

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