Original Research

Intervention for bilingual speech sound disorders: A case study of an isiXhosa–English-speaking child

Kate Rossouw, Michelle Pascoe
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 65, No 1 | a566 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v65i1.566 | © 2018 Kate Rossouw, Michelle Pascoe | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 June 2017 | Published: 19 March 2018

About the author(s)

Kate Rossouw, Division of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Michelle Pascoe, Division of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Bilingualism is common in South Africa, with many children acquiring isiXhosa as a home language and learning English from a young age in nursery or crèche. IsiXhosa is a local language, part of the Bantu language family, widely spoken in the country.

 

Aims: To describe changes in a bilingual child’s speech following intervention based on a theoretically motivated and tailored intervention plan.

 

Methods and procedures: This study describes a female isiXhosa–English bilingual child, named Gcobisa (pseudonym) (chronological age 4 years and 2 months) with a speech sound disorder. Gcobisa’s speech was assessed and her difficulties categorised according to Dodd’s (2005) diagnostic framework. From this, intervention was planned and the language of intervention was selected. Following intervention, Gcobisa’s speech was reassessed.

 

Outcomes and results: Gcobisa’s speech was categorised as a consistent phonological delay as she presented with gliding of/l/in both English and isiXhosa, cluster reduction in English and several other age appropriate phonological processes. She was provided with 16 sessions of intervention using a minimal pairs approach, targeting the phonological process of gliding of/l/, which was not considered age appropriate for Gcobisa in isiXhosa when compared to the small set of normative data regarding monolingual isiXhosa development. As a result, the targets and stimuli were in isiXhosa while the main language of instruction was English. This reflects the language mismatch often faced by speech language therapists in South Africa. Gcobisa showed evidence of generalising the target phoneme to English words.

 

Conclusions and implications: The data have theoretical implications regarding bilingual development of isiXhosa–English, as it highlights the ways bilingual development may differ from the monolingual development of this language pair. It adds to the small set of intervention studies investigating the changes in the speech of bilingual children following intervention. In addition, it contributes to the small amount of data gathered regarding typical bilingual acquisition of this language pair.


Keywords

bilingual; phonology; intervention; speech sound disorder

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