Short Vowels and Context Effects: The Case of English Speakers Reading Arabic

  •  Asmaa Shehata    


The present study examines the impact of both short vowels and context on adult native English speakers’ reading accuracy of Arabic orthography. To this end, two groups of adult Arabic learners with different proficiency levels were recruited: 30 second-year, and 30 third-year learners. Subjects were instructed to read 50 isolated words, 20 sentences and 10 paragraphs in two different reading conditions: vocalized and unvocalized. Findings demonstrated a significant positive influence of both short vowels and context on second-year learners’ word recognition of the target stimuli. That is, second year Arabic learners had better accuracy when reading vocalized texts compared to unvocalized ones and were significantly more accurate at reading paragraphs and sentences than isolated words. However, third-year students’ reading accuracy was only significantly affected by the reading context.

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