Qualitative Analysis of Spelling Errors in Arabic among Bedouin Elementary School Pupils

Alon Fragman


Studies explored spelling errors of consonants in the written form of Arabic among the Bedouin pupils of the Negev in elementary school found significantly lower scores for these pupils in comparison with triangle pupils for real word task and for real word recognition task, mainly in the second grade. Also, pupils from the Bedouin sector found difficulty with the representation of emphatic phonemes, and represented them by a similar soft phoneme. In order to better understand the sources of difficulty found in the former studies, this study focused on spelling errors of consonants among Negev Bedouin children through two writing tasks. The results indicate that most of the spelling errors among 2nd graders seem to be primarily phonetic in nature, as a result of confusion between similar sounding phonemes in Arabic. Another source of error seems to be attracted to the diglossic nature of Arabic: native Bedouin speakers are exposed to the Negev vernaculars from birth (L1), and are systematically exposed to the written form of Arabic at school. It is therefore suggested that the effect of colloquial phonology on spelling among diglossic children should be taken into consideration by language teachers as well as by teacher training institutions. 

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/ijl.v7i1.7024

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