Early Sensitivity to Morphology in Beginning Readers of Arabic

Publication type: 
Carole El Akiki and Alain Content

El Akiki, Carole and Content, Alain (2020) Early Sensitivity to Morphology in Beginning Readers of Arabic. Frontiers in Psychology, 11: 552315.


The current study investigated the influence of morphological structure on the earliest stages of Arabic reading acquisition. More specifically, we aimed at examining the role of root and pattern units in beginners from Grade 1 to 3. A first set of reading tasks evaluated the presence of a morphology facilitation effect in word and pseudoword reading by manipulating independently the frequency of roots and patterns. Additional tasks aimed at examining the contribution of morphological awareness to reading performance. The results suggest that reading ability is early influenced by the awareness of morphological composition. Children read faster and more accurately pseudowords composed of frequent morphemes. Furthermore, regression analyses revealed, for every reading measure, a significant contribution of one morphological test in addition to grapheme knowledge. Results are discussed taking into account the differences obtained depending on lexicality and morpheme type (root or pattern).

Keywords: Arabic language, reading acquisition, morphology, morphological awareness, root/pattern structure

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Frontiers in Psychology