The Influence of Diglossia on Different Types of Phonological Abilities in Arabic

Ibrahim A. Asadi, Raphiq Ibrahim


The present study examined the impact of diglossia, a characteristic of the Arabic language, on the development
of phonological abilities in the spoken and the literary language forms. Participants were 571 children from 10
grade levels (1-7, 9, 11 and 12), which were recruited from 10 schools by taking into account two important
factors: the accent factor (Bedouins, Druze and Arabs) and the geographical factor (south, Haifa, center and
north). All participant were administered phonemic segmentation and phonemic deletion tasks, each comprised
of two types of stimulus: spoken and literary words. The results indicated an opposite effects of the stimulus
where in the phonemic segmentation tasks, an advantage was found for the spoken stimulus over the literary and
in the phonemic deletion task, the advantage was recorded in the literary stimulus. In addition, a significant main
effect of grade was found for both tasks. An interaction between grade and the type of stimulus was observed
only in the phonemic deletion task. These differences between the two tasks may suggest that they are processed
differently via the auditory and the visual modality. In addition, our findings provide evidence concerns the
developmental capacity of phonemic awareness. The results, as a whole, support the notion that the effect of
lexical distance on phonological awareness depends on modes of stimulus presentation.

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Journal of Education and Learning   ISSN 1927-5250 (Print)   ISSN 1927-5269 (Online)


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