[lg policy] Debunking the "language gap"

Johnson, David C david-c-johnson at uiowa.edu
Wed Apr 29 00:09:23 UTC 2015

This paper aims to outline the misguided underpinnings of the “word gap” concept promoted by Hart and Risley (1995). This concept posits that a “30 million word gap” between children of poverty and those from affluent households accounts for widespread academic disparities. Based on this premise, there has been a recent surge in educational programs that are based on a deficit view toward the language patterns of families from economically impoverished backgrounds.


David Cassels Johnson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Foreign Language and ESL Education

University of Iowa
240 Lindquist Center North
Iowa City, IA 52242
(319) 335-6175

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