Prosodically-Determined (Late) Acquisition of [+dorsal] in Arabic: Linguistic Intervention and Language Disorders
Arif Ahmed Mohammed Hassan Al-Ahdal, Ameen Ahmed Omer Alahdal

In the Arab world, studies (Sabi, 2017) have established moderate to high incidence of language and hearing issues among children about to enter the school system. All areas of screening, viz., hearing, comprehension, expression, voice, fluency and articulation were reportedly affected. Pre-school screening is a dire need in the Arab region because most communication disorders go undetected for being non-mandatory under insurance cover. Currently, there are two, apparently conflicting, claims in the literature of child phonology. The first is that the onset position of a syllable is strong. This, in fact, has the implication that elements should be acquired in the onset earlier than in any other position in a syllable. The other claim is that dorsal/ back obstruents are acquired in the coda position earlier than in the onset. This paper looks at the speech of five Arab children to demonstrate that the acquisition of back obstruents depends a great deal on prosodic position. Two, it shows that back stops seem to be acquired earlier than back fricatives in the onset position. The reverse seems to hold: dorsal fricatives are acquired earlier when in the coda position. The paper then attempts an OT account for this phenomenon.

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