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Verb morphology deficits in Arabic-speaking children with specific language impairment

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 April 2008

FAUZIA ABDALLA*
Affiliation:
Kuwait University
MARTHA CRAGO
Affiliation:
Université de Montréal
*
ADDRESS FOR CORRESPONDENCE Fauzia Abdalla, Department of Communication Sciences, College for Women, Kuwait University, P.O. Box 5969, Safat 13060, Kuwait. E-mail: fauziamam@yahoo.com

Abstract

This paper explores tense and agreement marking in the spontaneous production of verbs in Arabic-speaking children with specific language impairment (SLI) and two groups of typically developing children: one group matched for mean length of utterance, and the other group matched for age. The special characteristics of Arabic such as its rich bound morphology, intricate verb system, null subject properties, and lack of an infinitival form make it particularly valuable for determining universal versus language-specific aspects of SLI. The results indicate that the Arabic-speaking participants with SLI had obvious problems with verb morphology. They were significantly different from the two comparison groups of children on the percentage of correct use of tense and subject–verb agreement forms. Furthermore, when an error in verbal infection occurred, the substitute form was often an imperative form. The findings are examined in light of cross-linguistic research pertaining to the nature of the SLI deficit and its relationship with typical language learning.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2008

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