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Sentence repetition as a clinical marker of developmental language disorder: evidence from Arabic

Taha, J., Stojanovik, V. ORCID: and Pagnamenta, E. ORCID: (2021) Sentence repetition as a clinical marker of developmental language disorder: evidence from Arabic. Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research, 64 (12). pp. 4876-4889. ISSN 1558-9102

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1044/2021_JSLHR-21-00244


Purpose: Research on the typical and impaired grammatical acquisition of Arabic is limited. This study systematically examined the morpho-syntactic abilities of Arabic-speaking children with and without Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) using a novel sentence repetition task. The usefulness of the task as an indicator of DLD in Arabic was determined. Methods: A sentence repetition task was developed in Palestinian Arabic (LITMUS-SR-PA-72) and administered to 30 children with DLD (M = 61.50 months, SD = 11.27) and 60 age-matched TD children (M = 63.85 months, SD = 10.16).The task targeted grammatical structures known to be problematic for Arabic-speaking children with DLD (language-specific) and children with DLD across languages (language-independent). Responses were scored using binary, error and structural scoring methods. Results: Children with DLD scored below TD children on the LITMUS-SR-PA-72 in general as well as in the repetition of language-specific and language-independent structures. The frequency of morpho-syntactic errors was higher in the DLD group relative to the TD group. Despite the large similarity of the type of morpho-syntactic errors between the two groups, there were some atypical errors exclusively produced by the DLD group. The three scoring methods showed good diagnostic power in the discrimination between children with and without DLD. Conclusion: Sentence repetition was an area of difficulty for Palestinian Arabic-speaking children with DLD. The DLD group demonstrated difficulties with language-specific and language-independent structures, particularly complex sentences with non-canonical word order. Most grammatical errors made by the DLD group resembled those of the TD group and were mostly omissions or substitutions of grammatical affixes or omissions of function words. SR appears to hold promise as a good indicator for the presence or absence of DLD in Arabic. Further validation of these findings using population-based studies is warranted.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism (CeLM)
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Development
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Clinical Language Sciences
ID Code:101415


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