This study describes the speech development of 24 typically developing first language Swahili speaking children between the ages of three and five years 11 months in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and was motivated by the 2013 position paper drafted by the International Expert Panel on Multilingual Children’s Speech. Single word speech samples were obtained from each child using a set of culturally appropriate pictures designed to elicit all consonants and vowels of Swahili. Each child’s speech was audio recorded and phonetically transcribed using International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) conventions. The results suggest a gradual acquisition of speech sounds and syllables between the ages of three and five years 11 months. All vowels and most of the consonants in Swahili are acquired by the age of three years of age. Complex and longer syllable structures were common amongst older children and mastered by five years 11 months. This study contributes preliminary normative data on speech development of Swahili speaking children by describing phonetic inventory, syllable structure inventory, phonological processes and PCC/PVC. It highlights the need for establishing assessments in Swahili considering the variation existing in speech acquisition across languages. 

Swahili speech development: preliminary normative data from typically developing pre-school children in Tanzania.
Gangji N, Pascoe M, Smouse M.
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Gauri Mankekar

Department of Otolaryngology-Head Neck Surgery, Louisiana State University Shreveport, Louisiana, USA.

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