This study is an investigation into theinterconnections among three languages, Arabic,Hebrew and English, each of which has adifferent orthography. Hebrew and Arabic havemore in common with each other than withEnglish; they are considered ``shallow''orthographies if vowelized and ``deep''orthographies if unvowelized. The reading,language, and working memory skills of 70trilingual Israeli-Arab students, aged 14–15,were assessed. Arabic was their maininstructional language in school, and Hebrewand English were studied as required subjects.All these adolescents studied Hebrew from thethird grade and English from the fourth grade.They were administered word and pseudowordreading, language, orthographic, and workingmemory tests in Arabic, Hebrew, and English. Inspite of differences among these threelanguages, the majority of the children showedadequate proficiency in three languages. Asignificant relationship was found between theacquisition of word and pseudoword readingskills, working memory, and syntactic awarenessskills within and across the three languages.Trilingualism of this nature seems not to havenegative consequences (and may even havepositive consequences) for the development oforal language and reading skills in the threelanguages in spite of their differentorthographies.
Reading and Writing – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 4, 2004
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