Sound production by Saudi Arabic-English bilingual children and Saudi monolingual children

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Currently, not much is known about the impact of English learning on Arabic rhotic production in bilingual children. In fact, to date, only one study has addressed rhotic production in Lebanese-English bilingual children. Therefore, more research is needed to have a better understanding of this subject. This study aimed to investigate rhotic production patterns of 10 Saudi Arabic-speaking monolingual children and 12 Saudi Arabic-English bilingual children between the ages of 6 years and 15 years. The focus was mainly on describing the target like /r/ and error patterns for each group in order to explore the influence of English on Arabic rhotic production. This study employed a between-subjects research design, in which audio recordings of the children’s Arabic rhotic productions in a picture naming task were transcribed and analysed. The results showed that the differences between the two groups were statistically significant. Bilinguals showed a smaller number of the target-like /r/ with different error patterns which reflected the influence of the English language on their Arabic rhotic production. Finally, the relation between the difficulty of /r/ production in different word positions was unclear and needed further research.