Bi-cultural aspects of second language learning in a bilingual context

Raphiq Ibrahim, Mila Schwartz, Janina Kahn-Horwitz, Mark Leikin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Taking into account the effect of diglossia in Arabic and its orthographic complexity, this study is aiming to investigate differences between Arabic-speaking (L1) and Hebrewspeaking (L1) parents' self-reports on their children's language practice at home within the framework of Family Language Policy. Additionally, we (the researchers) aim to examine how children's language practice at home as a part of their Family Language Policy were linked to their word and text reading accuracy and rate in Arabic versus Hebrew. Native Hebrew-speaking and Arabic-speaking 3rd and 4th grade children from two bilingual Arabic/Hebrew-speaking schools participated. Speed and accuracy measures were examined in reading words, pseudo words, and texts in Arabic and Hebrew. We have seen that measures of speed and accuracy of reading in Hebrew among Hebrew speakers were significantly higher than measures of reading in Arabic among Arabic speakers. In addition, Hebrew speakers gained poor results in reading Arabic (L2) compared to Arabic speakers in Hebrew (L2). Our conclusion was that Hebrew speakers did not succeed in transferring their proficiency and success in reading in their mother tongue to success in reading the second language. The psycholinguistic and the socio-linguistic explanations and implications of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-89
Number of pages25
JournalAsian EFL Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • Arabic
  • Bilingual
  • Diglossia
  • Hebrew
  • Orthography
  • Reading
  • Socio-cultural factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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