Arabic in Home Language Instruction. Language Acquisition in a Fuzzy Linguistic Situation


Project leader


Description

This thesis investigates the command
8th-graders in Arabic home language instruction have of written Modern
Standard Arabic and if the type of instruction they have received and/or
contact with written Arabic affect their performance. Background
chapters discuss variables connected to the Arabic language (diglossia,
research on reading and writing in Arabic) and variables connected to
HLI in Sweden (set-up, steering documents).

The testing material
consisted of a translation test from Swedish to Arabic combined with a
questionnaire that addressed various factors of relevance to language
acquisition.

The translations were analysed on three levels: (1)
handwriting, (2) spelling and (3) morphosyntax. The main result of the
analysis was that the participants were highly heterogeneous: some
participants produced incomplete translations in handwriting that was
barely legible, whereas others had good results for all measures. Many
of the participants relied on a phonological strategy for spelling. For
example, even short, high-frequency words such as personal pronouns and
prepositions had not been spelled correctly.

The results for
handwriting, spelling and morphosyntax were checked against the
variables (1) years of HLI, (2) extra instruction in Arabic outside of
HLI and (3) contact with written Arabic in the free time. The results
for the effect of participation in HLI were inconclusive. However, many,
but not all, of the participants with good results on the translation
test had received extra instruction in Arabic, either in Sweden or prior
to coming to Sweden. Reading Arabic in the free time was not in all
cases connected to good results, but not reading Arabic in the
free time was in most cases connected to a low command of written
Arabic. Regarding these results, it is suggested that additional factors
(motivation, support from the family, etc.) could be at play.

Previous
research has addressed the question of heterogeneity in HLI classes.
The findings of this thesis illustrate how great the heterogeneity can
in fact be, and thus have implications for the set-up of Arabic HLI in
Sweden.


Last updated on 2018-02-05 at 06:43