Understanding the Errors ofArabic Speaking ELL’s
What are the key differences between Arabic andEnglish? ARABIC ENGLISH • Germanic language family • Semitic Language Family • Written in cursive script • Most often printed • Read from right to left • Read from left to write • 28 letters in the alphabet • 26 letters in the alphabet • Letters change based on their position in a sentence • Letters are fixed • There are only 3 vowels /a:/, /u:/, /i:/ • There are 5 vowels (not including y which sometimes behaves as a vowel) • No capitalization • Capitalization is used at the beginning of a • Limited punctuation – commas are used sentence and for proper nouns loosely • Punctuation is essential and indicates the • Phonetic spelling completion of thoughts, emphasis and inflection • Verb first sentences • Three consonant root language • Spelling is not entirely phonetic • Verb last sentences
Let’s Compare! ARABIC ENGLISH• • Why did the chicken cross the road? • To get to the other side• Remember….read me this way!
What types of errors are made by Arabicspeaking ELL’s and what causes them?• Lack of Capitalization – Developmental, does not exist in Arabic• Lack of Punctuation – Negative transfer, usage of commas instead of periods is common• Vowel confusion – Developmental, especially when using short vowel sounds (they do not exist in Arabic). ▫ Arabic has only 8 pronounced vowels and 32 consonant diphthongs as opposed to 22 pronounced vowels and 24 consonants in English
A B C D E F G H I ….. vs. Your ELL isa b c d e f g h i …. thinking ? ? ? ? Why are they different, ours are the same. , ? ! : ; “ ) Your ELL is thinking … Why are there so many?
Types of Errors and Causes Cont’d• Sentence structure – Developmental AND negative transfer. Arabic has a three-consonant root structure. This structure provides a concrete formula for the formation of sentences. No such structure exists in English.• Using indefinite and definite articles – Developmental AND L1 Interference, there are no indefinite articles in Arabic. Definite articles are used differently than in English ▫ Definite articles: Arabic uses “genitive constructions”. For example “this is the teachers book” becomes “this is the book the teacher”(Nur, n.d.).• Spelling- Negative transfer, Arabic speaking students are used to spelling words phonetically.• Punctuation – Developmental, periods do not exist in Arabic.
Student Errors - Syntacs• Syntacs: ▫ Sentence structure: “Hardest part in English is reading and writing.” (Fragment)“British style school is very different than America” (Fragment)
Student Errors – Mechanics• Mechanics: ▫ Punctuation: The other thing that I know in Dubai that is possitave the Depts Law, the Dubai Law in Depts that if you don’t pay your charges they will take of your passport so you can never get out of the UAE, And you will lose your job and apartment, which means you don’t have any thing (no period, improper usage of commas, run-on sentences)• the last fact about Dubai is the low persontage of the local citizens in Dubai, the personatage of the Emiraties is only 5% about the rest of the are expatriates and tourests and residents; (improper usage of commas and semicolons)
Student Errors - Mechanics• Capitalization: the other things I know in Dubai that is possitave the Depts law… The other thing that I know in Dubai that is possitave the Depts Law, the Dubai Law in Depts that if you don’t pay your charges they will take of your passport
Students Errors - Grammatical• Prepositions: I believe that the workers treement in Dubai is so unfair for the because the… Promises the workers to have a great salery and a good place to live on… When workers reach to (unnecessary )the UAE land everything comes on (unnecessary) the opposite way…
Student Errors - Grammatical• Wrong Tenses (agreement and omissions): I study (should be studied) English 11 years. I have been studying since a long time ago. (no agreement) I believe that the workers treatment in Dubai is so unfair for the because the companies in Dubai promises the workers to have a great salary and a good place to live on… (should be promise)
Student Errors - Grammatical• Plurals: “I like movie with American subtitles.” “He fail every time that he tries to conquer” “I came here 4 month ago”
What strategies can we use forpreventing and correcting theseerrors?• Vowels – Vowels are something that needs to be explicitly taught because short vowel sounds do not exist. ▫ Suggestion: Do rhyming activities with the students. Use a Dr. Suess book and have the students place words with similar vowel sounds into categories. Students will be able to more easily identify short vowel sounds when they have been introduced to them categorically.
Strategy 2• Sentence structure- Students need to be exposed to considerable amounts of reading and attempt to form sentence structure rules. ▫ Suggestion: Teacher should provide students with proficiency level appropriate readings and have students read them daily. Some time each day should be dedicated to helping students devise sentence structure rules by trial and error. Students will continuously check the rules they have formed against the new reading materials that they receive.
Strategy 3• Verb placement – Arabic is a verb first language; English is not. ▫ Suggestion: Teacher should give students short reading assignments in English and their matching translations in Arabic. Teacher should ask students to attempt to figure out the differences between the sentence structures in the two passages. The students should deduce that the verb placement is different.
Strategy 4• Spelling – English spelling is not entirely phonetic. Students become frustrated by spelling because English appears “haphazard”. ▫ Suggestion: Teachers can have students look up words in a dictionary that have the vowel combination –ea and –ee and attempt to determine under which circumstances each spelling is used. Allowing students to recognize patterns can help them “make sense” of what at times can seem like a very illogical way of spelling.
Strategy 5• Punctuation – Periods and other forms of punctuation aren’t used in Arabic like they are in English ▫ Suggestion: Teachers can read aloud to students and use voice inflection to help students understand the function of each mark. For example, a long pause at the end of a sentence can be a way to show students that a period signifies the end to a thought. Similarly an “excited” tone of voice during an exclamation can show students that this is used to show emphasis.