The Development of Sociolinguistic Diglossic Knowledge in Oral-Literacy Mismatch Situations: Preliminary Findings from Palestinian Arabs


This study explores the explicit sociolinguistic knowledge and awareness of Arabic diglossia of forty Palestinian children in Israel, ages 6:11 - 11:3 using the Diglossic Knowledge and Awareness Questionnaire, a subtest of the Arabic Diglossic Knowledge and Awareness Test (ADAT). Central to this approach is the recent insight that children who are learning to read and write in a language that is mismatched to their spoken language at home (referred to as an oral-literacy mismatch) need to develop linguistic awareness for both systems, as well as the relationship between them (Terry, Connor, Thomas-Tate, & Love, 2010; Terry, 2011). Our preliminary findings indicate that during third and fourth grades children develop the ability to define the two language varieties that exist in Arabic diglossia, and are able to report on their explicit knowledge of phonological and lexical interrelationships between the two linguistic systems. Furthermore, our findings also indicate that by the third grade the Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) variety is given a higher status by those children along with reports of its superiority and purity. These findings suggest a need to take into consideration this developmental milestone in any educational and clinical evaluation of children with and/or at risk to have learning and/or reading disabilities in diglossic language environments, such as Palestinian Arab students in Israel.

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Makhoul, B. , Copti-Mshael, T. and Dakwar, R. (2015) The Development of Sociolinguistic Diglossic Knowledge in Oral-Literacy Mismatch Situations: Preliminary Findings from Palestinian Arabs. Psychology, 6, 1168-1179. doi: 10.4236/psych.2015.69115.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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