Development and Relationships Between Phonological Awareness, Morphological Awareness and Word Reading in Spoken and Standard Arabic

Schiff, R.

This study addressed the development of and the relationship between foundational
metalinguistic skills and word reading skills in Arabic. It compared Arabic-speaking
children’s phonological awareness (PA), morphological awareness, and voweled and
unvoweled word reading skills in spoken and standard language varieties separately in
children across five grade levels from childhood to adolescence. Second, it investigated
whether skills developed in the spoken variety of Arabic predict reading in the standard
variety. Results indicate that although individual differences between students in PA
are eliminated toward the end of elementary school in both spoken and standard
language varieties, gaps in morphological awareness and in reading skills persisted
through junior and high school years. The results also show that the gap in reading
accuracy and fluency between Spoken Arabic (SpA) and Standard Arabic (StA) was
evident in both voweled and unvoweled words. Finally, regression analyses showed that
morphological awareness in SpA contributed to reading fluency in StA, i.e., children’s
early morphological awareness in SpA explained variance in children’s gains in reading
fluency in StA. These findings have important theoretical and practical contributions for
Arabic reading theory in general and they extend the previous work regarding the crosslinguistic
relevance of foundational metalinguistic skills in the first acquired language to
reading in a second language, as in societal bilingualism contexts, or a second language
variety, as in diglossic contexts.

Last Updated Date : 21/11/2018