NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ851469
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Jan
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0090-6905
Is Literary Arabic a Second Language for Native Arab Speakers?: Evidence from Semantic Priming Study
Ibrahim, Raphiq; Aharon-Peretz, Judith
Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, v34 n1 p51-70 Jan 2005
The mother tongue of the absolute majority of native Arabic speakers is Spoken Arabic (SA), which is a local dialect that does not have a written form. For reading and writing, as well as for formal communication Literary Arabic (LA) is used. For the literate Arabs, these two languages are extensively inter-twined in every day life. Consequently, it is possible that, despite the difference between them, LA is not processed like a regular second language by the cognitive system of the native Arabic speakers but rather as an enhancement of the spoken lexicon. In the present study we examined this possibility comparing semantic priming effects in auditory lexical decision within SA (L1), with the effects found across languages with LA or in Hebrew (L2). Hebrew is doubtlessly a second language for native Arabic speakers. In this study we have manipulated semantic priming. In Experiment 1 the targets were in Spoken Arabic and the primes in any of the three languages. The semantic priming effect was twice as large within L1 as between languages and there was no difference between Hebrew and LA. In Experiment 2, all primes were in SA whereas the targets were in any of the three languages. The priming effects in that experiment were doubled relative to the previous experiment, but the inter-language relationships were the same. For both language pairings, the semantic priming was larger when the primes were presented in SA (and the targets in either Hebrew or LA) than when the primes were presented in one of the second languages and the targets in SA. The conclusion is that, despite the intensive daily use adult native Arabic speakers make of SA and LA, and despite their shared origin, the two languages retain their status as first and second languages in the cognitive system.
Springer. 233 Spring Street, New York, NY 10013. Tel: 800-777-4643; Tel: 212-460-1500; Fax: 212-348-4505; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A