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Title: Phonological development in Saudi-Arabic-speaking children
Author: Bahakeem, M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7227 4895
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2016
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Clinicians in the field of speech and language therapy worldwide rely on norms when assessing the speech and language of individuals with developmental or acquired communication disorders. Speech and language therapists in Saudi Arabia face particular challenges when assessing children or adults due to the lack of research on individuals with no communication difficulties, including normative studies on phonological acquisition. The aim of this study was to fill this evidence gap, by developing an assessment to elicit the consonants of Saudi-Arabic. This project charts the typically-developing children's trajectory of acquisition of consonants with regard to consonant inventory and trajectory of patterns of errors. It also shows how the preliminary norms are adequate to be used for assessing atypically-developing children as seen from the single case study. In addition, it compares the performance between single word and connected speech tasks. A cross-sectional study of 102 typically-developing children aged 2;6-5;5 years, where two children were of the 5-year olds, showed that by 4;11, 21 of the 28 phonemes used in Saudi Arabic were acquired. Data of fifteen of the typically-developing children; between 3;6-4;11, were analysed for connected speech. Findings showed that there was a significant difference between the single word task and the connected speech task for the oldest age group (but not the younger age groups) as they were more accurate in connected speech than in single words. In addition, data from the fifteen typically-developing children and data from twenty-two younger children between 2;6- 3;5 were analysed for connected speech processes and the morphophonological process involving the definite article /l/. Findings showed that the typically-developing children generally used connected speech processes used by adults and used the definite article correctly. A case study was included to see whether a child with suspected atypical phonological features can be identified by comparing her data to the data of the typically-developing children as well as by comparing her performance in the connected speech task to that of the single word task. Findings showed that there was little difference between her and her peers in terms of the acquisition of the consonants. On her performance across contexts, she performed better in the single word context than she did in connected speech. In addition, she had atypical behaviours in connected speech which resulted in making her speech sound disjointed. On the definite article, in contrast to her typically-developing peers, she used the incorrect allomorph of the definite article. Findings from this study will be compared to those of other studies in different languages and Arabic dialects to explore similarities and differences across languages and Arabic dialects. Theoretical and clinical implications will be considered.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available