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Academic Paper


Title: The Linguistic Affiliation Constraint and phoneme recognition in diglossic Arabic
Author: Elinor Saiegh-Haddad
Institution: Bar-Ilan University
Author: Iris Levin
Institution: Tel Aviv University
Author: Nareman Hende
Institution: Tel Aviv University
Author: Margalit Ziv
Institution: Tel Aviv University
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Phonology; Psycholinguistics
Subject Language: Arabic, Standard
Abstract: This study tested the effect of the phoneme's linguistic affiliation (Standard Arabic versus Spoken Arabic) on phoneme recognition among five-year-old Arabic native speaking kindergarteners (N=60). Using a picture selection task of words beginning with the same phoneme, and through careful manipulation of the phonological properties of target phonemes and distractors, the study showed that children's recognition of Standard phonemes was poorer than that of Spoken phonemes. This finding was interpreted as indicating a deficiency in the phonological representations of Standard words. Next, the study tested two hypotheses regarding the specific consequences of under-specified phonological representations: phonological encoding versus phonological processing. These hypotheses were addressed through an analysis of the relative power of distractors. The findings revealed that children's difficulty in accessing Standard Arabic phonemes was due to a difficulty in the phonological encoding of Standard words. We discuss the implications of the findings for language and literacy development in diglossic Arabic.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 38, Issue 2.

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