Jordanian Educational Journal


The present study aims at identifying the most frequent syllable-based processes in the speech of 80 normally developing Algerian children who are acquiring Jijilian Spoken Arabic (JSA) natively, and accounting for that within an Optimality Theory (OT) framework. The children's ages ranged between 1;2 (year;month) and 5 years and they were divided into four age groups of ten month intervals. Importantly, this study attempts to determine whether those processes are language-universal or language-specific. A thorough analysis of the data at the researchers' disposal revealed that Reduplication, Weak and Unstressed syllable deletion, Cluster Simplification, Vowel Epenthesis, and Final Consonant Deletion are the most common syllable-based processes in the speech of typically developing Algerian children. They emerged at the age of 1;2 and started decreasing in number and frequency at the age of 3 until they completely disappeared at the age of 5. The application of OT so as to account for such phonological processes disclosed that the acquisition process within the OT framework is synonymous with the reranking of constraints in the sense that as the language of the child develops, faithfulness constraints, which are initially low ranked, are promoted and markedness constraints, which are initially high-ranked, are demoted.

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