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A sociolinguistic study of the 'Broken Plural' in the speech of Iraqi Arabic-English bilingual children

Al-Timimi, Alyaa (2018) A sociolinguistic study of the 'Broken Plural' in the speech of Iraqi Arabic-English bilingual children. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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This study investigates the acquisition of a most intriguing system of nominal plurality in Arabic, the Broken Plural (BP), in the speech of bilingual Iraqi-English children. BP is an irregular plural form, there is no fixed suffix to be added and it is derived by altering the consonant and vowel patterns inside the singular noun/adjective. Monolinguals acquire it from their environment; they learn it spontaneously as they grow up and expand their vocabulary. The study includes 11 bilingual children living in the UK and ‘control groups’: 9 female adults living in the UK, 11 monolingual female adults and 17 monolingual children living in Baghdad. Data collection combined quantitative and qualitative techniques. The research as a whole addresses the issues of how reduced Iraqi Arabic input can affect the formation of BP, the range of strategies that the bilingual children use to recoup their lack of knowledge and the correlation between these strategies and social factors, viz. parents’ level of education and proficiency in English, language use at home (input), and attitudes. The data (BP) were analysed into correct and incorrect responses based on monolingual female adults performance. The incorrect responses (repair strategies) were classified into various categories including: overgeneralisation (used more frequently by bilinguals as a default form but was least favoured by the monolingual children); and the employment of ‘rudimentary semantic strategies’ rather than morphological markers e.g. repetition/singular, new words, random patterns. The findings show that the formation of BP is present in bilingual children –to a different digree- but its formation underwent a crucial reanalysis. There is a strong correlation between the social factors and the repair strategies. Bilingual children’s attitudes towards English positively correlate with their low proficiency in Iraqi Arabic (IA); parents’ attitudes towards IA, religion and identity as core values; and parents’ command of English were also found to play a crucial role in nurturing or impairing the use of IA, which in turn affects acquisition of BP.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PJ Semitic
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Language and Linguistics, Department of
Depositing User: Alyaa Al-Timimi
Date Deposited: 18 Apr 2018 13:54
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2018 13:54

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