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Title: Developmental language impairment in Egyptian Arabic
Author: Fahim, Donia
ISNI:       0000 0001 3456 198X
Awarding Body: Birkbeck (University of London)
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 2005
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Three longitudinal case studies were conducted to investigate developmental language impairment (1)1.1) in Egyptian Arabic (EA). While there have been descriptions of adult acquired aphasic deficits in Arabic, this study details the linguistic characteristics of children with impairments specific to language. To select the subjects, an exclusionary checklist was used based on the criteria used for specific language impairment (SLI, Ixronard, 1998). The subjects consisted of two males and one female, first seen at less than 5 (X) years and recorded longitudinally (21 -36 months). Data from 12 normally developing children, aged between 1 00 4,04 years, was also collected for comparative purposes and to detail normal developmental errors in EA. Patterns of language impairment and development were investigated using spontaneous language measures and specific structured tasks. The language samples were phonetically transcribed from video tapes during non-directive therapy and parent child play sessions. The spontaneous language measures included, Mean Morphemes per Unit (MPU), percent structural errors, functional analysis of utterances and an error analysis of specific grammatical morphemes. 'Ihe three EA-DLI children shared similar patterns of errors although cognitively they had different strengths. 'Their patterns of impairment reflected primarily morpho-syntactic difficulties. Many of the linguistic characteristics observed in the EA-DLI children's language were also produced by the controls, but less frequendy. The EA-DLI children's MPUs were found to be restricted with higher percentages of morphological errors than the language matched controls. An unmarked default verb form resembling the Imperfective-stem was a frequent substitution error. The functional analysis revealed that the EA-DLI children were similar to the controls in their use of requests and labels, however they produced more Learnt Repetitive phrases and disordered sentences and fewer Intravcrbals due to their difficulties with abstract verbal reasoning. 'ihe difficulties described in this study compnse of some linguistic features specific to EA and other features that have been reported in cross-linguistic studies of SLI. The shared features included difficulty with grammatical morphology, lack of master)' at expected developmental stages and limited use of inflectional morphology leading to agreement errors. Verbs were difficult, percentages of errors were high and fewer verbs were produced than nouns. In contrast to the findings of SLI in other languages Tense and Aspectual marking was not problematic, but difficulty was with subject verb agreement for gender, number and person. Prepositions, pronouns, plurals and negative particles were either omitted or substituted resulting in error patterns. The grammatical theories developed to account for SLI reported in English, German and Swedish (Hakansson et al., 2003 Clahsen and Hansen, 1997 van der Lely, 2002) were judged against the evidence acquired in this study on the three EA-DLI children. The limitations of these theories are discussed and alternative interpretations are provided.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available