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ERIC Number: EJ1112360
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1368-2822
Kuwaiti Arabic: Acquisition of Singleton Consonants
Ayyad, Hadeel Salama; Bernhardt, B. May; Stemberger, Joseph P.
International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, v51 n5 p531-545 Sep-Oct 2016
Background: Arabic, a Semitic language of the Afro-Asiatic variety, has a rich consonant inventory. Previous studies on Arabic phonological acquisition have focused primarily on dialects in Jordan and Egypt. Because Arabic varies considerably across regions, information is also needed for other dialects. Aims: To determine acquisition benchmarks for singleton consonants for Kuwaiti Arabic-speaking 4-year-olds. Methods & Procedures: Participants were 80 monolingual Kuwaiti Arabic-speaking children divided into two age groups: 46-54 and 55-62 months. Post-hoc, eight children were identified as possibly at risk for protracted phonological development. A native Kuwaiti Arabic speaker audio-recorded and transcribed single-word speech samples (88 words) that tested consonants across word positions within a variety of word lengths and structures. Transcription reliability (point-to-point) was 95% amongst the authors, and 87% with an external consultant. Three acquisition levels were designated that indicated the proportion of children with no mismatches ('errors') for a given consonant: 90%+ of children, 75-89%, fewer than 75%. Mismatch patterns were described in terms of a phonological feature framework previously described in the literature. Outcomes & Results: The Kuwaiti 4-year-olds produced many singleton consonants accurately, including pharyngeals and uvulars. Although the older age group had fewer manner and laryngeal mismatches than the younger age group, consonants still developing at age 5 included coronal fricatives and affricates, trilled /r/ and some uvularized consonants ('emphatics'). The possible at-risk group showed mastery of fewer consonants than the other children. By feature category, place mismatches were the most common, primarily de-emphasis and lack of contrast for [coronal, grooved] (distinguishing alveolar from interdental fricatives). Manner mismatches were next most common: the most frequent substitutions were [+lateral] [l] or other rhotics for /r/, and stops for fricatives. Laryngeal mismatches were few, and involved partial or full devoicing. Group differences generally reflected proportions of mismatches rather than types. Conclusions & Implications: Compared with studies for Jordanian and Egyptian Arabic, Kuwaiti 4-year-olds showed a somewhat more advanced consonant inventory than same age peers, especially with respect to uvulars, pharyngeals and uvularized (emphatic) consonants. Similar to the other studies, consonant categories yet to master were: [+trilled] /r/, coronal fricative feature [grooved], [+voiced] fricatives /?, z/ and the affricate /d???/ and some emphatics. Common mismatch patterns generally accorded with previous studies. This study provides criterion reference benchmarks for Kuwaiti Arabic consonant singleton acquisition in 4-year-olds.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Egypt; Jordan; Kuwait
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A