Early Phonological Development in Arabic Egyptian Children: 12-30 Months
Phonological development is a dynamic process that operates on three levels: universal development, specific language development, and specific child development. An intricate relationship between the three factors delineates the course of acquisition of each child’s phonemic inventory. This study is designed to investigate the phonemic inventory and the phonological processes used by Arabic Egyptian children in order to evaluate cross-linguistic similarities and differences. Thirty Egyptian children with Cairene dialect, in the age period between 12 and 30 months, were included and divided into three groups, each covering a 6-month interval. A 1-hour tape recording for each child was done, followed by analysis of the phonemic inventory and phonological processes. Phonemic inventories showed universal similarities, with frequent occurrence of stops, nasals, and glides mostly in the form of bilabial and alveolar sounds. This is besides a specific tendency for early frequent production of laryngeal phonemes. Glottal replacement was found to be a common and naturally occurring phonological process, leading to frequent occurrence of glottal stop /U/ in the inventories of Egyptian children. The final position of the word showed the highest degree of correct phoneme production.