Verb Morphology in Egyptian Arabic Developmental Language Impairment

Donia Fahim

Abstract


This paper presents an investigation of verb morphology in the spontaneous productions of three preschool Egyptian Arabic- (EA) speaking children with language impairment (LI) and a group of typically developing children. The typological characteristics of Arabic, such as its rich morphology, lack of infinitival form and complex verb system, make it an interesting test case for determining both language specific and universal features of specific language impairment (SLI). The children’s use of both tense and agreement was examined. The group with language impairment had particular problems with verb morphology. Use of default verb forms resembling the imperfective-stem and imperative was a frequent substitution error in the children's language productions. In contrast to previous cross-linguistic observations of SLI, although there was difficulty with subject-verb agreement for gender, number and person, marking for tense and aspect was not found to be as problematic for these children. The findings are examined in the context of cross-linguistic research and theories proposed for error patterns in SLI. 


Keywords


Specific language impairment, Arabic, cross-linguistic research, inflection, developmental language disorder

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