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Invented Spelling in Arabic: What Do United Arab Emirates
(U.A.E.) Sixth Grade Students Know about Arabic Spelling
Item type text; Electronic Dissertation
Authors Aljelajel Almazroui, Karima Matar
Publisher The University of Arizona.
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INVENTED SPELLING IN ARABIC: WHAT DO UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
(U.A.E) SIXTH GRADE STUDENTS KNOW ABOUT ARABIC SPELLING
Karima Matar Aljelajel A Dissertation Submitted To the Faculty of the
DEPARTMENT OF LANGUAGE, READING AND CULTUREIn Partial Fulfillment of the Requirement For The Degree Of
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHYIn the Graduate College
THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA2006 2
THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA
and recommend that it be accepted as fulfilling the dissertation requirement for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy ___________________________________________________________ Date: 4/11/06 Yetta Goodman ___________________________________________________________ Date: 4/11/06 Kathy Short ___________________________________________________________ Date: 4/11/06 Adel Gamal Final approval and acceptance of this dissertation is contingent upon the candidate’s submission of the final copies of the dissertation to the Graduate College.
I hereby certify that I have read this dissertation prepared under my direction and recommend that it be accepted as fulfilling the dissertation requirement.
__________________________________________________________ Date: 4/11/06 Dissertation Director: Yetta Goodman 3
STATEMENT BY AUTHORThis dissertation has been submitted in partial fulfillment of requirement for an advanced degree at the University of Arizona and is deposited in the University Library top be made available to borrowersunder rules of the Library.
Brief quotations from this dissertation are allowable without special permission, provided that accurate acknowledgement of source is made. Requests for permission for extended quotation from or reproduction of this manuscript in whole or in part may be granted by the head of the major department or the Dean of the Graduate College when in his or her judgment the proposed use of the material is in the interests of scholarship. In all other instances, however, permission must be obtained from the author.
I would like to thank, first and foremost, my advisor, Dr. Yetta Goodman, for her guidance and support throughout my graduate career and during the completion of this work. The extensive knowledge, vision, and creative thinking of Dr. Goodman have been the source of inspiration for me throughout this work.
I am also extremely grateful to the members of my committee, Dr. Kathy Short and Dr. Adel Gamal for their input and interest in this research.
Special thanks to my family for supporting me in my educational pursuits and especially my husband, Dr. Mohamed Alhammadi for his encouragement and support. I appreciate the patience of my little three children who spent most of their time next to mommy’s computer.
Finally, I would like to thank the United Arab Emirates sixth grade children who shared their samples, opinions, hopes and judgments, since without their work and
LIST OF FIGURES
LIST OF TABLES
CHAPTER 1: LEARNING TO SPELL IN ARABIC
Objectives of the Study
Statement of the Problem
Significance of the Study
Limitations of the Study
CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW
Stages of Spelling Development
The Controversy of the Occurrence of Stages
Invented Spelling and Reading
Invented Spelling and Mastering Writing Skills
Dialect and Spelling
Invented Spelling versus Traditional Spelling in Education
Invented Spelling in Education: Focus on the Arabic World
Teaching Spelling In the Arab World
Evaluating Students’ Dictation Pieces
Teaching Composition in the UAE Elementary Public Schools
The Procedure of Teaching Composition
Previous Studies about Invented Spelling in Different Languages
Invented Spelling in English
Invented Spelling in German
Invented Spelling in Dutch
Invented Spelling in French
Invented Spelling in Spanish
Invented Spelling in Hebrew
Invented Spelling in Farsi
Invented Spelling in Other Languages
Studies and Researches about Arabic Spelling
CHAPTER 3: INTRODUCTION TO THE ARABIC LANGUAGE
Graphic Similarity among Some Alphabet Letters
Dots’ Location and Number
Vowels in Arabic
The Definite Article
Orthographic Rules and Exceptions
Holy Koran Orthography
CHAPTER 4: MEHTODOLOGY
The Context of the Study
Dictation and Composition Tests
CHAPTER 5: RESULTS
Statistical Analysis of Spelling Inventions in Dictation and Composition................. 109 Research Questions Analysis
Research Question 1
1) Phonological level
2) Grammatical Level
3) Orthographic Level
Research Question 2
1) Phonological Level
2) Grammatical Level
3) Orthographic Level
Spelling Inventions That Did Not Occur In Sixth Grade Compositions................ 131 Research Question 3
1) Phonological Level
2) Grammatical Level
3) Orthographic Level
Research Question 4
Strategies Students Use for when They Are Unsure about Spelling Conventions. 142 Spelling Role Model
Student’s Views of Themselves as Spellers
Spelling Proficiency in Different Contexts (Dictation and Composition).............. 152 The Importance of Conventional Spelling
Most Difficult Spelling Rules in Arabic for Sixth Grade Students
Students’ Suggestions to Improve Their Own Spelling
Evaluating Students’ Dictations and Compositions
Spelling Inventions and Conventions in Sixth Grade’s Samples
Dialect and Invented Spelling
Strategies Students Used to Avoid Spelling Inventions
Teachers’ Evaluation of Written Texts
CHAPTER 6: CONCLUSION
Research Implication in Teachers and Teachers’ Education
Importance of This Study for Students
Invented Spelling in the UAE Elementary Schools
APPENDIX A: Subject Informed Consent Form/ Parental Informed Consent Form.... 183 APPENDIX A: Arabic Translation
APPENDIX B: Spelling Interview
APPENDIX B: Arabic Translation
Figure 2.1: Example of a Fifth Grade Composition
Figure 3.1: The Arabic Consonants
Figure 4.1: The Dictation Piece
Table 2.1: Patty’s Spelling Inventions
Table 4.1: Possible Spelling Inventions Found in Previous Arabic Literature.
................ 88 Table 4.2: New Spelling Inventions Found in Research
Table 4.3: Analysis of Arabic Spelling Inventions
Table 4.4: Research Questions and Sets of Data
Table 5.1: Number and Percentages of Spelling Invention Categories in the Arabic Language
Table 5.2: Strategies Students Report Using When It Comes To Spelling Difficult Words in Dictation
Table 5.3: Strategies Students Report Using When It Comes To Spelling Difficult Words in Composition
Table 5.4: Students’ Views of Strategies that “Good Spellers” Used in Spelling.
......... 147 Table 5.5: Students’ Strategies to Help Peers Overcome Spelling Difficulties.............. 149 Table 5.6: Teachers’ Strategies as Reported by Students to Help in Spelling................ 150 Table 5.7: Students’ Context of Proficiency
Table 5.8: Importance of Conventional Spelling in Dictation and Composition.
.......... 154 Table 5.9: Difficult Spelling Rules for Sixth Grade Students
Table 5.10: Students’ Strategies, Being Arabic Language Teachers, to Teach Spelling 157
This study explores invented spelling in Arabic. Since spelling in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is taught through dictation and composition, this study explores and compares spelling inventions that occur in students’ writing in each context. Samples of dictation and composition were collected from three sixth grade classrooms taught by UAE teachers. In addition, this study aimed to investigate what sixth grade students in the (UAE) know about Arabic spelling. A number of features were examined to explore the participants’ knowledge and use of certain Arabic spelling rules. Spelling inventions were categorized into three linguistic levels for analysis: 1) phonological level, 2) grammatical level, and 3) orthographic level to answer three of the research question. The findings of student’s spelling inventions in their compositions were compared to those found in dictation.
Interviews were also conducted to supplement written samples, and to study what sixth grade students report that they do when Arabic standard spelling in unknown.
In practice, this study will serve Arabic teachers in the Arabic world as a resource in teaching, evaluating, and understanding invented spelling. Students' invented spellings must be seen as opportunities to contribute actively to their own learning. By combining an understanding of invented spelling with formal spelling instruction, teachers will develop more effective spelling instructions.
Findings included: sixth grade students’ spelling inventions that occurred in dictations reflected the phonological level primarily; writing compositions drew students’
spontaneously and used their knowledge of information, poems, Koran and Hadith in their compositions. When standard spelling in unknown, students reported that they have many strategies to overcome spelling difficulties such as sounding out, asking for help, visualization, etc. However, they do not advise other students who have spelling
Language learning is a lifelong process of invention. Invention is driven by the need to communicate, learn, and think in order to survive and grow (Goodman, 1996).
Inventions are not random. Children, like all human beings, invent because they have authentic function, purpose, or need for language in their socio-cultural community (Halliday, 1975) and have “linguistically sophisticated reasoning” (Cramer, 1998, p. 15).
Children invent by providing their best guesses, theories, or hypotheses based on their perception and understandings of the world and how it works (Ferreiro, 1999). According to Goodman (1993) both oral and written inventions are natural in language learning because human beings are driven by need to solve daily problems and to make sense of the world. In addition, inventions are vital in language learning because fearing to take risk and to try alternatives may delay learning. Both Piaget (1973) and Vygotsky (1978) declare that it is crucial for language learners to take risks if learners are to learn and grow.
Children become writers long before they ever put any conventional words on a page. Through many developmental stages, children denote meaning on paper with pictures, scribbles, random letters, and eventually words. This pre-conventional stage is known as invented spelling. Also known as developmental, temporary, phonic, sound, or constructed spelling, invented spelling is a natural stage that every student experiences
Children invent purposefully and intentionally. When children invent, they employ their experiences, knowledge, and beliefs about language and the world. Children continue to invent language conventions until they seem to have "internalized" that social language (Vygotsky, 1978) along with their community and family values (Halliday, 1975). When children are aware that their inventions are noticed and that they are different from what families and teachers call “convention”, they experience tension or disequilibrium (Piaget, 1973). As a result, children react differently to these inventions and usually ease the tension by revisiting and reinventing.
In the United Arab Emirates and for many years, spelling instruction consists of rote memorization of a weekly list of words or a text followed by a dictation. Teachers sometimes teach spelling the way that they were taught, and it becomes difficult to change the many beliefs and practices about spelling instruction. There is almost no research on student’s knowledge about the Arabic written system. Yet research in other countries such as Germany, USA, Israel, and Iran suggests that there are alternative ways to understand and teach spelling, and that spelling instruction should be looked at as a whole, which is an aspect of language (Mirzaei, 2002).