When diglossia meets dyslexia: The effect of diglossia on voweled and unvoweled word reading among native Arabic-speaking dyslexic children

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Abstract

Native Arabic speakers read in a language variety that is different from the one they use for everyday speech. The aim of the present study was: (1) to examine Spoken Arabic (SpA) and Standard Arabic (StA) voweled and unvoweled word reading among native-speaking sixth graders with developmental dyslexia; and (2) to determine whether SpA reading ability among children with dyslexia predicts StA reading fluency in the two orthographies: voweled and unvoweled. A comparison was made to three age groups of typically developing children: a group matched by chronological age, a group of children who are two years younger, and a group of children who are 4 years younger. Findings show that diglossia has a strong impact on reading ability in dyslexic children. Moreover, vowelization plays a pivotal role in the reading ability of Arabic-speaking children with dyslexia in both SpA and StA. This role is evident in the different performance patterns of dyslexic participants as compared with controls on word-reading accuracy and fluency for SpA versus StA. Finally, StA word-reading fluency appears to depend on and to be reliably and powerfully predicted by SpA word-level reading ability. These results underscore the role of diglossia and vowelization in the manifestation of dyslexia in Arabic-speaking children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1089-1113
Number of pages25
JournalReading and Writing
Volume30
Issue number5
Early online date23 Dec 2016
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 May 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

Keywords

  • Developmental dyslexia
  • Diglossia
  • Vowelization
  • Word reading

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