Phonological Development and Phonological Processes in the Speech of an English-Arabic Bilin-gual Child

Hana Asaad Daana


This research traces the phonological development and the phonological processes in the speech of a bilingual child acquiring Jordanian Arabic and English. This trace is carried out through a thorough description of the phonological development of segments in Jordanian Arabic and English. It is also carried out through discussing the phonological processes resorted to by the child in order to simplify the production of segments in both languages. This study is the first of its kind to compare and contrast phonological processes in the speech of a bilingual child whose two first languages descend from two different linguistic families. The study also scrutinizes evidence of any influence of one language over the other. Evidence for either the Separate Development Hypothesis or the Fusion Hypothesis is also investigated. The data used in this paper are collected by the author from her own child acquiring Arabic and English simultaneously between the ages of 7 and 20 months. The child’s sound segment development showed consistency with universal trends. Phonological processes such as regressive and progressive assimilation, substitution and metathesis were found in the child’s production of English and Arabic sounds. The study provides limited evidence for the occurrence of interlanguage interference. On the other hand, the study provides strong supportive evidence for the Separate Development Hypothesis.


Phonological Development, Simultaneous Bilingualism, Phonological Processes, Separate Development Hypothesis, Fusion Hypothesis

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