African Social Pragmatics

Meet Our Team

The founding members of the African Social Pragmaticcs Consortium include three faculty members from Universities in the U.S.

Portrait of Yvette Hyter

Yvette D. Hyter, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
ASHA Fellow

Dr. Yvette D. Hyter is an ASHA Fellow, Professor Emerita of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, and is a recipient of the Honors of the Association Awarded by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Her work focuses on (1) culturally/linguistically responsive services for children and families at risk for being marginalized in education and health systems, and (2) macro level structures that affect full participation in daily life.

Dr. Hyter addresses social pragmatic language and communication skills of children with histories of abuse, neglect, and prenatal alcohol exposure; prepares transdisciplinary teams to serve those from diverse cultural, linguistic, and national backgrounds, and has developed a social pragmatic communication assessment battery for young children called the Assessment of Pragmatic Language and Social Communication (APLSC, Hyter & Applegate, 2012). In addition to data being collected on this assessment in the United States, it has been tested in Greece, Cyprus, and Brazil.   

Dr. Hyter serves in leadership positions regarding diversity, social justice, inclusion, and global matters. She served as Chair of the WMU College of Health and Human Services Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, Chair of the Child Language Committee of the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics (IALP), was a member of the Board of Directors of the IALP, and a coordinator of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Special Interest Group 17 – Global Issues in Communication Sciences and Related Disorders. In this role, Dr. Hyter focused on the development of competencies for global engagement for speech-language and hearing clinicians.

As co-director of Cultural Connections: Transnational Research and Education Laboratory, a nonprofit organization, Dr. Hyter and colleagues develop curriculum units for schools, and taught study abroad courses in West Africa and the U. S. Midwest about the causes and consequences of globalization on systems, policies, and practices. In 2014 her conceptual framework for working in global contexts in culturally responsible ways was published in Topics in Language Disorders, 34(2), titled “A Conceptual Framework for Responsive Global Engagement in Communication Sciences and Disorders”.

Dr. Hyter has been examining pragmatics since 1990. She has been collaborating with Dr. Kenyatta Rivers* and Dr. Glenda DeJarnette since 2008 examining and producing knowledge about pragmatics and social communication of African American children and adolescents who are speakers of African American English.


Portrait of Glenda DeJarnette.

Glenda DeJarnette, Ph.D.

Dr. Glenda DeJarnette is a Professor at Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the Department of Communication Disorders. Early in her career DeJarnette was appointed Co-Chair of the Cultural Diversity Curriculum Committee, an avant-garde committee whose mission was to promote the address of cultural and social justice issues in the curriculum at SCSU.  At that time she also served as Associate Director on a USDE Training grant to support recruitment and retention of minority graduate students in the Department of Communication Disorders at SCSU.  Additionally, she was Principal Investigator on an Integrated Related Services Grant awarded by the Connecticut Special Education Resource Center.

Dr. DeJarnette has served on the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Continuing Education Board, as a reviewer for the ASHA Advancing Academic-Research Careers (AARC) Award, and as a mentor in the ASHA Mentoring AcademicResearch Careers (MARC) program.  She is a member of the ASHA Special Interest Group (SIG) 14, Cultural and Linguistic Diversity.  DeJarnette’s areas of research interest include early childhood language development and disorders with emphasis on African American English speakers and pragmatic language behavior, cultural linguistic diversity, cultural competence, interprofessional education/integrated related services and oral-motor control in speech and non-speech behavior. 

Dr. DeJarnette has received grants from the Connecticut State University-AAUP to support her research efforts.  She has published and presented her research on pragmatic language and social communication behavior of African American English child speakers at national and international conferences.  She has served as thesis advisor and research mentor to graduate and undergraduate students with emphasis on cultural diversity. It has been her honor to mentor undergraduate and graduate students to be the next generation of researchers to examine pragmatic language and social communication behaviors in linguistically diverse populations.

Dr. DeJarnette has been examining pragmatics since 1990 when she first collected video samples of young African American English speakers in their home, daycare and preschool environments. She has been collaborating with Dr. Kenyatta Rivers and Dr. Glenda DeJarnette since 2008 examining and producing knowledge about pragmatics and social communication of African American children and adolescents who are speakers of African American English. 

Portrait of Kenyatta Rivers.

Kenyatta O. Rivers, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
ASHA Fellow

Dr. Kenyatta O. Rivers is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida and an ASHA Fellow. He received his doctorate degree in speech-language pathology from the University of Florida, master’s degree in speech-language pathology from the University of Central Florida, bachelor’s degree in communicative disorders from the University of Central Florida, and Associate of Arts degree from Lake-Sumter Community College. His teaching, research, and clinical interests include language/literacy disorders in children and adolescents, pragmatic language differences and disorders in African American children and adolescents, cognitive-communication disorders in children, adolescents, and adults, and evidence-based practice in schools.

Since 2005, Dr. Rivers has served as a Mentor for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s (ASHA) Mentoring Academic-Research Careers (MARC) program and Student to Empowered Professional (S.T.E.P.) Mentoring Program. He is a past Board Member of the Central and North Florida Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association and a current board of the National Black Association for Speech-Language and Hearing (NBASLH).  He serves as a Reviewer for, but not limited to, Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, Journal of Speech-Language-Hearing Research, American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, and Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s, an Associate Issue Editor for Topics in Language Disorders. He has also served as Reviewer of grant proposals for the Alzheimer’s Association. Finally, he is a Member of the Communication Sciences and Disorders Clinical Trials Research Group – Schools Liaison Group, the ASHA SIG 14 (Communication Disorders and Sciences in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Populations), and the Florida Association for Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (FLASHA).