chapter  5
24 Pages

Arabic literacy development and cross-linguistic effects in subsequent L2 literacy development


Arabic presents a case in which reading is first learned in a form of the language that is different from the everyday language spoken in the home and community. Children learn to speak a colloquial dialect of Arabic as their first language, but then learn to read and write using literary Arabic, or Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). MSA is quite distinct from the colloquial Arabic in vocabulary and in some aspects of phonology and grammar; consequently, children learn to read in what is in some respects a second language.