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    L2 visual word processing in L1 Arabic L2 English learners : beyond vowel blindness

    Tuzović, Emina (2023) L2 visual word processing in L1 Arabic L2 English learners : beyond vowel blindness. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    L1 Arabic L2 English learners tend to underperform in L2 word recognition in English compared to other L2 learners. Prior studies have explained this by the vowel blindness phenomenon, which stems from L1 Arabic word processing techniques (focusing on consonant skeletons; non-linear processing), which are inadequate when processing L2 English (linear processing). This study investigated whether vowel blindness can account for specific reading difficulties found in these L2 learners by assessing their performance in L2 word recognition. Two experimental tasks were conducted on a group of intermediate L1 Arabic L2 English learners. The study also aimed to explore whether other factors, such as word length and letter position have an effect on the choice of the processing route employed. Both of these factors (word length and letter position) were found to have an impact on how these L2 learners process words in L2 English. While shorter words mainly elicited the use of the orthographic route, longer words attracted the use of the phonological route. Overall, the findings in this study indicate that vowel blindness is still present in the L2 word processing in intermediate L1 Arabic L2 English learners, however, it is only a partial explanation for their L2 word recognition difficulties. Instead, the results suggest difficulties in processing syllables in L2 English, rather than in processing vowel letters in isolation. Secondly, at the intermediate L2 proficiency level, there is evidence that L1 Arabic L2 English learners are starting to process L2 words sequentially, i.e., implementing linear processing. This raises question marks over the role of vowel blindness and non-linear processing, especially in intermediate and higher L2 proficiency learners. In order to acquire a better understanding of how L1 Arabic L2 English learners read in L2 English, future research needs to go beyond this processing phenomenon. This has an impact on the design and future iterations of L2 word recognition models in this L2 learner group, based on various factors, such as word length, letter position and the choice of the processing route employed.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2024 13:28
    Last Modified: 09 Jan 2024 14:16


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