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Title: Investigating speech output skills in 3-5 year old Arabic-speaking children : a psycholinguistic approach
Author: Alkheraiji, Noaf
ISNI:       0000 0004 7225 2581
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2017
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This exploratory study aims to describe the profile of speech processing performance across different speech output tasks in typically developing Arabic-speaking children and chart developmental change by looking at cross-sectional data across different age groups. The speech processing demands required to complete the tasks were interpreted within the psycholinguistic speech-processing model of Stackhouse and Wells (1997). A total of 129 typically developing Saudi Arabic-speaking children were divided into three age groups (3-year olds: 29 children; 4-year olds: 50 children; 5-year olds: 50 children). Children were tested on three speech repetition tasks comprising real words, non-words and syllable sequences. The stimuli of the three tasks were phonetically matched and stimuli items of each task increased in the number of syllables (length). For each task, the children were required to: a) repeat each item once i.e. immediate singleword repetition; with responses being scored for repetition accuracy; and b) repeat each item multiple times consecutively and at speed i.e. speech motor performance; with behavioural measures of accuracy and consistency used to score productions. Single repetitions revealed different performance profiles in different age groups; mainly, there were no differences between real word and non-word repetitions, and developmental progress was not evident. With multiple rapid productions, the processing demands of the tasks and age significantly affected children's performance. Generally, the effects of increasing item length was not straightforward; as repetition of short real words and non-words was not necessary better than that of longer items. The results of this study show that the Arabic-speaking children's speech processing profiles, developmental progression on the speech output tasks and effects of length were not entirely in line with cross-linguistic evidence, on both single repetitions and on multiple rapid productions. These results appear to reflect the unique phonetic and phonological properties of the Arabic language, which could have affected children's performance on the tasks. Therefore, this study has important methodological, theoretical and clinical implications, which will be discussed.
Supervisor: Rutter, Ben Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available