The goal of this study was to compare performance differences of Native Arabic speakers in identifying spoken words and written words in the Arabic (L1) and Hebrew (L2) languages, and to examine whether such difference in performance patterns are related to the factors like; type of language and frequency of exposure to each modality (visual, auditory). Two lexical decision experiments were performed, in which the response times (reaction time- RT) and error rates were compared. In addition, each subject completed a structured questionnaire that examined the level of exposure to speech and reading in each language. The results showed a frequency effect within the language (for each language- Arabic and Hebrew) and within the presentation form (spoken or written), with longer reaction times in lexical decision tasks when the stimuli was presented orally in comparison to the visual presentation. A significant interaction was found between perceptual modalities and the language in which the stimuli were presented. Reaction times to Hebrew words were faster when the words were presented visually, while reaction time times for the Literary Arabic words were faster when they were presented orally. The results of the language exposure questionnaire revealed that in both languages, students whose exposure to a particular modality was greater performed faster and more accurate in that modality. These findings can be explained with the fact that mature Arab students read more in Hebrew at schools and hear more in Literary Arabic Consequently, Arab linguistic experience in a second language (L2) relies more on visual modality, and that affects significantly the language processing of this modality.
|Number of pages||21|
|Journal||The Linguistics Journal|
|State||Published - 28 Jul 2008|