The relationship between nonword repetition, root and pattern effects, and vocabulary in Gulf Arabic speaking children

Khater, M. (2016). The relationship between nonword repetition, root and pattern effects, and vocabulary in Gulf Arabic speaking children. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)

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Abstract

Nonword repetition has received great attention in the last three decades due to its ability to distinguish between the performance of children with language impairment and their typically developing peers and due to its correlation with variety of language abilities, especially vocabulary skills.

This study investigates early phonological skills, as represented by nonword repetition (NWR), in TD Gulf Arabic speaking children and those with language impairment and tries to examine findings in relation to two important NWR hypotheses, namely the phonological short term memory account (PSTM, Gathercole& Baddeley, 1990a) and the linguistic account of Snowling, Chiat & Hulme (1991).

In the first experiment, a new Arabic word and nonword test (WNRep) was developed and conducted with 44 TD children and a clinical group (CL) that consisted of 15 children with language impairment. The participants’ ages were between two and four years old. The results show that the TD group scored significantly higher than the CL group on the WNRep and across one, two and three syllable words/nonwords and that NWR scores correlated significantly with receptive and expressive vocabulary tests. Apart from its ability to differentiate between TD and those with language impairment, NWR results revealed significant differences in groups’ performance even on one syllable word and nonwords, which differs from findings in other languages.

These results raise questions about whether these findings relate to the characteristic root and pattern morphology in Arabic. Therefore, the second experiment in chapter 5 was conducted to investigate the effects of roots and patterns on TD children’s repetition skills and their relation to receptive and expressive vocabulary tests. A root and pattern nonword repetition test (RAP-NWR) was developed to measure this effect. The RAP-NWR consisted of three different types of root and pattern combinations (real root and nonpattern nonwords, real pattern and nonroot nonwords and nonpattern and nonroot nonwords). All 89 participants were TD Gulf Arabic speaking children aged two to seven years old and divided into six age bands. Results showed that these children’s repetitions were sensitive to the presence of roots but not patterns and that RAP-NWR scores were significantly correlated with both vocabulary tests.

Findings from both studies show that while phonological storage may explain some of the results of children’s performance on NWR, there are a myriad of phonological and morphological factors that could have significant effects on NWR, such as the effects of roots and patterns, and it seems that roots more important role to play as it roots awareness emerges earlier than pattern awareness. Based on these findings, clinical utility of root and pattern NWR tests is discussed and further investigations of effects of roots and patterns on NWR are recommended.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PJ Semitic
Divisions: City, University of London theses
School of Health Sciences > Department of Language & Communication Science
City, University of London theses > School of Health Sciences theses
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/19767

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