Purpose: This longitudinal study examined the phonological development of a bilingual Arabic–English-speaking child with bilateral cochlear implants (CIs). The focus of the study was to observe the interaction between her two languages and to observe the effect of CIs on the acquisition of two speech sound systems. Method: This study followed a 3;6-year-old (2;5 hearing age) bilingual Arabic–English-speaking child with bilateral CIs to age 4;4 (3;2 hearing age). Single-word samples were collected bimonthly in both languages. Phon software (Rose et al., 2006) was used to transcribe and analyze speech samples. Measures derived included Percent Consonants Correct–Revised (Shriberg & Kwiatkowski, 1994), percent vowels correct, phonetic inventory complexity, and common phonological patterns for both English and Arabic. Results: Our findings supported previous research on phonological development exhibited by children with CIs, with the gradual suppression of typical and atypical error patterns and gradual increase in segmental accuracy with maturation. In addition, language interaction and separation between English and Arabic were found, supporting previous cross-linguistic work on bilingual phonological acquisition (e.g., Fabiano-Smith & Goldstein, 2010b). Conclusion: Bilingual children with CIs have the capability to learn both of their languages and perform similarly to, and even surpass in accuracy, monolingual children with CIs; however, it is also possible to exhibit a slower rate of acquisition of segmental accuracy as compared to their typically developing, hearing peers. Clinical implications of bilingual early intervention are discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Linguistics and Language
- Speech and Hearing