Some Characteristics of the Language of a Jordanian Autistic Child

Yousef F. Bader


This study investigates, from syntactic, semantic and phonetic perspectives, a Jordanian autistic child’s language during the first year following his first words uttered between the age of six and seven years. The boy, who remained almost totally speechless for the first six years of his life, started to say words by the age of six years and nine months after intense training that lasted over three years. His language consisted mainly of nouns/verbs which he syntactically used to mean whole sentences. Repetition of the same word in order to express insistence was the main feature of his syntax. Semantically speaking, he used the same word to mean more than one thing or to refer to antonyms. From a phonetic point of view, the child's language was characterized by the phenomena of echolalia and monotonous prosody, consonant and syllable deletion, consonant substitution, consonantal assimilation, and vowel shortening. Most of these processes are attempts at simplification and seem to be in line with strategies adopted by other children with autism (Volden and Lord, 1991; Tager-Flusberg and Kasari, 2013; Mody and Belliveau, 2013), and by people with speech disorders or those who suffered strokes (Jaradat, 2016; Al-Duhoon, 2017; Shatnawi, 2017).  Like other children with autism in Jordan (see Al-Ta'ani, 2021), the boy adopted such processes probably to avoid syntactic, semantic or phonetic complexity.


autism, disorders, features, Jordan, language, phonetics, semantics, speech, syntax

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