Why is it hard to read Arabic?

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


Previous research has shown that reading in Arabic is a slower process than reading in other languages, even among skilled native Arabic speakers. In addition, the process of reading acquisition by beginning readers is slower than in other languages. We present three possible sources of these phenomena from both a psycholinguistic and a neuropsychological perspective. We examine the effects of diglossia (the fact that children learn to read a language in which they are not fluent), and the visual characteristics of Arabic orthography on reading acquisition, and suggest that the particular combination of grapheme-phoneme relations and visual characteristics of Arabic orthography result in a specific reading strategy among skilled readers that involves the cerebral hemispheres differently in Arabic than in Hebrew or English.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Arabic literacy:
Subtitle of host publicationinsights and perspectives
EditorsElinor Saiegh-Haddad, R. Malatesha Joshi
Place of PublicationHeidelberg
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)978-94-017-8545-7
ISBN (Print)978-94-017-8544-0
StatePublished - 4 Apr 2014

Publication series

NameLiteracy studies


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