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Title: Phonological acquisition and development in Arabic-English bilingual children
Author: Al-Amer, Asma
ISNI:       0000 0004 7961 4653
Awarding Body: Birkbeck, University of London
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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The main aim of this thesis is to explore the effect of cross-linguistic interaction on the phonological acquisition and development of simultaneous pre-school bilingual children. Data sample comprise of elicited single words and spontaneous speech obtained for three children acquiring English and Arabic languages and recorded by their mothers at home on a monthly basis for a period of one year. The extent of cross-linguistic interaction between the bilingual children's two language was examined through three manifestations: (a) transfer; (b) delay; and (c) acceleration (Paradis & Genesee, 1996) against consonant accuracy PCC, phonemic repertoire, and error patterns. Findings revealed evidence of cross-linguistic interaction through transfer and acceleration at variable degrees across the participants. For transfer, bi-directional transfer was observed in the production of the phoneme /r/ by two of the participants, while unidirectional transfer was more frequent and influenced the production of the following phonemes; /r/, /l/, /ɫ/ and /ŋ/. The directionality of transfer and its frequency corresponded to language exposure patterns the children were exposed to. Acceleration was observed in segmental inventories of shared and unshared sounds. One of the participants had an accelerated inventory of shared sound cross-linguistically when she was less than three years. Conversely, the other participants reported an accelerated segmental inventory in Arabic of unshared sounds over the age of three. In addition, acceleration of the PCC scores in both languages was evident in the results of one of the participants who received amble language exposure in both languages. Delay on the other hand was not found to be a manifestation of interaction and was the result of insufficient language exposure received in the participants' concerned languages. This was also the case of error pattern in which its frequency is contingent on the amount of language exposure received. Longitudinally, interaction either decreased or resolved demonstrating the boosting mechanism of interaction that could manifest at varying degrees during acquisition. The main contribution of this thesis, apart from its being the first longitudinal exploration of English/Arabic simultaneous preschool bilingual children in the UK, is the positive effect of a certain threshold of language exposure across the bilinguals' languages in promoting higher accuracy and larger segmental inventory in comparison to their age matched monolinguals.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available