Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.682695
Title: The role of phonology, morphology and dialect in reading Arabic among hearing and deaf children
Author: Almusawi, Hashemiah Mohammed Sayed Shubber
ISNI:       0000 0004 5914 579X
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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Abstract:
Phonological and morphological awareness are shown to be predictors of hearing and deaf children's literacy achievements in various languages, and Arabic is assumed to be no different. However, this might not be the case for two reasons. Firstly, the linguistic context of the Arab world is characterised by diglossia, i.e. the use of two different varieties of the same language in different settings. Hearing and orally educated deaf children will therefore encounter the vernacular variety of Arabic outside school, but are introduced to literacy in the more prestigious variety of Standard Arabic during instruction in school. Secondly, Arabic orthography has two forms: a fully vowelised script, which is typically taught in the first two years of school, and a non-vowelised script, which is the form of the written language widely used in society. This study specifically aims to investigate whether phonological and morphological awareness are independent predictors of the emergent literacy achievement of hearing and orally educated deaf Kuwaiti children. This is in addition to the question of whether children's awareness of the two language forms, i.e. their dialect awareness, contributes to their literacy achievement and to their levels of phonological and morphological awareness. This investigation was carried out longitudinally through a number of phonological, morphological and dialect awareness measures utilised as predictors of literacy outcome skills of word reading, word spelling, pseudo-word decoding and reading comprehension. Variances of age and general cognitive ability were controlled for throughout all the analyses undertaken. The results for the first target group of hearing children (N = 78, aged 6; 2 years) indicated a significant superiority of phonological awareness as the predominant predictor of all literacy skills across grade levels one and two. Morphological awareness was a predictor of first- graders' spelling ability, and was subsequently implemented to predict all the literacy skills of second-graders. Dialect awareness was a predictor of the word reading and reading comprehension ability only for second-graders, and its mediational effect was revealed when it was seen to significantly reduce the effect of phonological and morphological awareness on second-graders' reading skills after being examined as a control measure. The results for the second target group of orally educated deaf children (N = 34, aged 7; 6 years) indicated that phonological, morphological and dialect awareness were varyingly significant independent predictors of the subjects' literacy skills. A mediational effect of dialect awareness on the predictive link between morphological awareness and word spelling outcome was also evident. Although the prediction association between literacy predictor and outcome measures was mostly consistent and similar across both groups, exceptions in the predictive pattern revealed that the deaf children were at a disadvantage in developing language awareness skills that facilitate efficient mapping of speech into the written form. These findings are discussed in terms of language-general and language-specific properties. The outcomes offered by the current study cannot imply a cause-and-effect association, but allow for constructive identification of literacy predictors and assist in clarifying possible implications for children's literacy capabilities. As the strengths and needs of the examined groups have been clearly recognised, future investigations of causal and mediational analyses will validate the current findings about the Arabic diglossic phenomenon, and additionally specify an appropriate response in terms of practical educational plans.
Supervisor: Nunes, Terezinha Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.682695  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Linguistics ; Arabic ; Education ; Phonology ; Morphology ; Dialect ; Deaf
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