The purpose of the present study was to examine the influence of some aspects of the Arabic phonological system on spelling English words. In Study 1, the spelling performance of Arabic students from grades four and six was compared with English students in cognate phoneme pairs which exist across both languages (/d/ and /t/), and pairs in which only one of the phonemes exists in Arabic (/b/ and /p/, /f/ and /v/) using a spelling test which contained words with the target phonemes. The findings showed that the Arabic participants performed similarly to the English participants on the phonemes /t/ and /d/, but they tended to spell the phonemes /b/, /p/, /f/, and /v/ using their cognate pairs more often than the English participants did. In Study 2, the spelling performance of Arabic students was compared across grades 4, 6, 8, and 10 for the same target phonemes. The analyses showed no difference between the Arabic participants in how often they confused the target phonemes with their cognate pairs across the different grade levels, except for the phonemes /p/ and /v/, for which the effect size was small. The findings of this study demonstrate the importance of phonology in spelling, as well as the influence of the first language on spelling in a second language. They also indicate that Arabic students continue to be dependent on phonological processes when spelling English words even as they grow older.
Reading and Writing – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 18, 2011
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