The Effect of Arabic on Acquiring English Spelling

Document Type:Thesis

Subject Area:Linguistics

Document 1

Min, Koda, and Charles conducted a study to establish whether the second language cognitive learning processes are affected by the influence that the difference in the writing systems have on the first language literacy experiences of people. They used a sample of Korea and Chinese students who were all learning English as a second language. Min and company realized that phonology plays a part in affecting the English second language learners on matters to do with spelling (Min, et, al. They argued that phonology acts as a mediator of the process that transpires in the human brain after someone has heard a word and encoded. This, therefore, makes an individual perceive the meaning of the word by relating it to other similar words and it is at this point that if the semantic process went wrong the probability is that the person will spell the word wrongly.

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Min and the rest of the authors found out that the phonological used to readers characters written in Chinese characters undergoes activation at the lexical level and not the pre-lexical one. This simply means there is a big difference in how a word in Chinese characters and the same word in alphabets, can be spelled. Reading a Hangul word, for example, largely relies on a pre-lexical phonological process whereas in Chinese this could be misleading (Min, et, al. The same applies to the Arabic language. The determining factor of how a word is a going to be written and spelled for that matter is the level at which activation of the Arabic characters are activated. The other aspect that makes the Arabic language affect the learning process of English as a second language is the tendency to move to learn through imitation.

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Al-Zoubi (2014) explains that behaviorists believe that foreign languages are learned by imitating the behavior of the native languages. When an Arabic speaker decides to learn English as a second language they tend to carry along with them the meanings and forms of words and statements into the new language they are trying to learn. This essentially means that the form in which they view a particular word in their Arabic language is the exact form they imitate when learning English as a second language. As had been discussed earlier in this paper, linguistic differences and the levels of activation of words written in different characters differ. Reasons for Errors in Spelling English by Arab Learners Establishment of the reasons behind the errors being committed by Arabic speakers who learn English is based on the study of what these people do not know and how they cope with their linguistic ignorance.

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Sawalmeh (2013) in his studies, outlined that there are two sources of errors when an individual is learning a new foreign language, one of which is intralingual errors. This type of error source comes up a result of a learner taking partial classes of their language or through faulty processes of acquisition of the knowledge about the new language. This is brought about by the incomplete application of the rules of the English language that is being learned as a second language. When the rules are not applied to completion then it means that some essential details that may help a student get the right spelling may be left out. When a Native Arabic speaker gets into an English and decides that they will use a spellchecker to make corrections, they are essentially not learning at all.

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In as much as the spellcheckers may work and produce an efficiency level of about 63% as indicated by El-Dekhs and her colleagues, it does not help the student learn the language as would be the case if they learned without spellcheckers (El-Dakhs, & Mitchell, 2011). This creates a situation where such students cannot spell a word without the help of spellcheckers because they are used to them. In a scenario where the learner is required to speak out certain words, it becomes problematic because he has not learned well the language. It is important to note that these spellcheckers are usually on computers. Methods that Can Help Improve English Spelling for English for both Native Speakers and Foreign Learners Benson-Goldberg’s study came up with very good solutions as to how the students who learn English both as a first and second language can be helped with the issues of spelling.

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One of the solutions was that the teachers have to understand the source of the misspellings of their students. To do this they need to assess the individual aspects and word characteristics of the awareness of morphology, orthography, and phonology. Assessing the word features of these three aspects of linguistics will help the students learn faster and be able to recall. As has been discussed already in this paper, morphology, phonology, and orthography are processes that go hand-in-hand and, therefore, assessing the individual aspects in these processes can help teachers pinpoint where spelling mistakes and help accordingly. He stated that this process can enable a student to correlate a particular graphic unit with a phonological one such that one letter shall represent the same sound.

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