Reading and Writing in a Diglossic Context: A Multifaceted Perspective

Aula Khatteb Abu-Liel, Raphiq Ibrahim, Bracha Nir, Zohar Eviatar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Arabic is considered a classical case of diglossia because conventionally, one form of Arabic is spoken (SA) and another is used in the domain of written language (MSA). In the recent past, globalization of English-based technology, together with the absence of Arabic supporting keyboards, resulted in the reliance on Latin script as the main writing system when communicating through computers (CMC). This writing is known as ‘Arabizi’, which represents Spoken Arabic (SA). The advent of Arabic supporting software has allowed the writing of SA in Arabic letters, but has not completely eradicated Arabizi. Although the use of Arabizi today is less ubiquitous than it was half a decade ago, its effects on the cognitive processes involved in literacy are scientifically interesting. The present chapter explores the way that Arabizi affected reading, writing, and personal and social dynamics in a sample of Arabic-speaking adolescents collected in 2014. We focused on three areas of inquiry: The first aimed to provide a description of writing practices, perceptions, and attitudes for the two writing systems, Arabizi and MSA. The second examined literacy skills and abilities in MSA and Arabizi. The third tried to determine the stability of the Arabizi orthography in order to evaluate to which extent it is standardized.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Literacy in Diglossia and in Dialectal Contexts
Subtitle of host publicationPsycholinguistic, Neurolinguistic, and Educational Perspectives
EditorsElinor Saiegh-Haddad, Lior Laks, Catherine McBride
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages55
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-80072-7
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-80071-0
StatePublished - 2022


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