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Cultural and Linguistic Considerations in Language Assessment and Intervention for Levantine Arabic Speaking Children

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Ghada Khattab


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Working with multilingual children requires knowledge of their home/heritage culture and language(s), norms for development of these languages in monolingual and multilingual settings, and access to assessments and clinical resources. In the case of Arabic, all three requirements are normally missing due to the paucity of research on language development in Arabic. In the face of a steady increase in the Arab-American population and limited related linguistic and cultural knowledge, Arab-Americans run the same risk of over- and under-identification of language impairment as do many minority groups in the US. This paper aims to provide foundational knowledge of the diversity of the Arab culture and language/s, and of the prevalence of multilingualism in the Arab world. We also present some background on the Arab population in the United States, while highlighting potential vulnerable areas of service delivery. A brief account of some of the main linguistic features of Levantine Arabic is then provided, followed by implications for language interaction in the perception and production patterns of heritage language speakers. We hope that this paper will enhance Speech language pathologists’ ability to implement best practices in bilingual assessment when working with children from a Levantine background and to raise their awareness of implicit bias.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Khamis-Dakwar R, Khattab G

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: SIG 14 Perspectives on Communication Disorders and Sciences in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) Populations

Year: 2014

Volume: 21

Issue: 3

Pages: 78-87

Print publication date: 01/12/2014

ISSN (print): 1940-753X

ISSN (electronic): 1940-7548

Publisher: American Speech - Language - Hearing Association


DOI: 10.1044/cds21.3.78


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