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LINGUIST List 21.838

Thu Feb 18 2010

Diss: Psycholing: Morsi: 'Specific Language Impairment in Egyptian...'

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        1.    Ranya Morsi, Specific Language Impairment in Egyptian Arabic: A preliminary investigation

Message 1: Specific Language Impairment in Egyptian Arabic: A preliminary investigation
Date: 16-Feb-2010
From: Ranya Morsi <ranyaamorsiyahoo.com>
Subject: Specific Language Impairment in Egyptian Arabic: A preliminary investigation
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Institution: Reading University
Program: Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2010

Author: Ranya Ahmad AbdElAziz Morsi

Dissertation Title: Specific Language Impairment in Egyptian Arabic: A preliminary investigation

Linguistic Field(s): Psycholinguistics

Subject Language(s): Arabic, Egyptian Spoken (arz)

Dissertation Director:
Vesna Stojanovik
Theodore Marinis
Susan Edwards

Dissertation Abstract:

This study investigated tense, subject-verb agreement, noun-adjective
agreement, sentence repetition and digit recall in Egyptian Arabic-speaking
children with SLI (EASLI children). The results revealed that the present
verb and sentence repetition were the areas of most difficulty for EASLI
children. The results also showed that a default type error (imperative or
imperative-like error) which substituted the present verb was the
predominant error type. Such errors were considered 'tenseless' as
imperatives are considered 'tenseless' within the perspective of Zanuttini
(1997), which was adopted in this study. The percentages of errors of verb
production showed that in general, for the present verb, tense was
impaired, but agreement was not greatly affected, while for the past verb,
neither tense nor agreement was greatly affected.

Two linguistic accounts were investigated in light of the interpretation of
the results in this study in this study. These linguistic accounts were the
Extended Optional Default/Extended Unique Checking Constraint (EOD/EUCC)
account (2003) and the Grammatical Agreement Deficit (GAD) account (1989,
1997). A closer look at the EOD/EUCC account indicated that it might be
correct in its prediction that children with SLI in null subject languages
will not pass through EOD stage, but it does not provide an answer for the
difficulties with the present verb that EASLI children had. Also, the
predictions of both versions of the GAD account did not prove to be correct
as tense was more affected than agreement.

Also, one processing account was investigated in this study. This was the
Morphological Richness (MR) account (1998). Such an account was more likely
to provide an interpretation for EASLI children's difficulties with the
present verb as a result of a general processing limitation that approached
or surpassed the capacity required for learning the complex agreement
inflections of the present verb unlike the past verb and noun-adjective
agreement which have less complex agreement inflections. Thus, the MR
account provided some interpretation for the asymmetry between the present
and past verbs in EASLI children, i.e., the present verb being highly
impaired unlike the past verb. Also, it provided some explanation for the
imperative (or imperative-like form) being the prominent form of
substitution for the present verb as a result of neutralizing such
agreement inflections. Further research is required before reaching any
conclusive results.

The results of this study and the other two studies on Arabic-speaking
children with SLI were inconsistent in whether tense or agreement or both
were affected. This might be attributed to the small number of participants
and methodological differences.

This study provided 'potential' clinical markers (the present verb and
sentence repetition) for EASLI children at age 5;0 and above. Finally, this
study contributed to the field of language acquisition of EA by providing
some developmental data on EATD children from the age of 3;0 to 6;0 and
from the age of 7;0 to 8;0.

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