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The development of Palestinian Arabic from 18 to 36 (Hashoul-Essa & Armon-Lotem, 2024)

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posted on 2024-06-20, 20:24 authored by Lina Hashoul-Essa, Sharon Armon-Lotem

Purpose: This study presents a comprehensive exploration of lexical and grammatical development in Palestinian Arabic (PA). The study aims to test the validity of the Palestinian Arabic Communicative Development Inventory (PA-CDI) as well as generate growth curves for lexical and morphosyntactic development, examine the order of emergence of both lexical and morphosyntactic categories, and explore the contribution of demographic and developmental factors to language development.

Method: Data were collected from 1,399 parents of PA children aged 18–36 months using an online PA-CDI.

Results: The results show that as age increased, so did lexical and morphosyntactic production, along with considerable variability across individuals. While lexical development in PA resembles the order observed in other languages with nouns preceding verbs and adjectives, morphosyntactic development indicates early emergence of verbal inflectional morphology prior to noun pluralization or negation. Age of word combination and health problems are predictive of lexical and morphosyntactic development, and so are parental concerns.

Conclusions: Our findings indicate the potential of the PA-CDI as an assessment tool for lexical and morphosyntactic development among PA-speaking children in Israel. Our developmental growth curves may also be used to identify children at risk for developmental language disorder, particularly those falling below the 10th percentile, thus allowing for early identification and early intervention. The use of background variables, specifically parental concerns, health issues, and word combinations, along with the PA-CDI, could potentially enhance the precision of language delay assessment.

Supplemental Material S1. Palestinian Arabic Communicative Development Inventory.

Hashoul-Essa, L., & Armon-Lotem, S. (2024). The emergence and development of Palestinian Arabic lexicon and morphosyntax from 18 to 36 months: A Communicative Development Inventory study. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. Advance online publication.

Publisher Note: This article is part of the Special Issue: Arabic Typical and Atypical Acquisition: The Role of Linguistic Structure and Sociolinguistic Context.


This research was partially supported by ISF 454/18.