Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-768dbb666b-l8xdn Total loading time: 0.326 Render date: 2023-02-02T19:22:01.143Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

IS LEARNING A STANDARD VARIETY SIMILAR TO LEARNING A NEW LANGUAGE?

Evidence from Heritage Speakers of Arabic

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 December 2016

Elabbas Benmamoun*
Affiliation:
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abdulkafi Albirini
Affiliation:
Utah State University
*
*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Elabbas Benmamoun, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 218 Swanlund Administration Building, 601 E. John Street, Champaign, IL 61820. E-mail: benmamou@illinois.edu

Abstract

This study examines heritage speakers’ knowledge of Standard Arabic (SA) and compares their patterns of SA acquisition to those of learners of SA as second/foreign language (L2). In addition, the study examines the influence of previously acquired language varieties, including Colloquial Arabic (QA), on SA acquisition.1 To this end, the study compares 35 heritage speakers, 28 L2 learners, and 16 controls with respect to sentential negation, an area where SA and QA diverge significantly. The participants completed five oral tasks targeting negation of eight different clause types. The findings showed that L2 learners and heritage speakers performed comparably, encountered similar difficulties, and produced similar patterns of errors. However, whereas L2 learners did not display clear transfer effects from L1 (English), heritage speakers showed both positive and negative influence of L1 (QA). The results shed light on the dynamics of the interaction between the spoken heritage languages and their written standard counterparts with specific focus on diglossic contexts.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2016 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Footnotes

We would like to thank the participants and research assistants for their help with the study. We would also like to express our gratitude to the three anonymous reviewers and the editors for their helpful and constructive comments and suggestions. We would like to acknowledge the statistical advice and support offered by Xin Dai and Mamoun Benmamoun. We also would like to thank Farzad Karimzad Sharifi who helped with editing an early version of the manuscript. We are solely responsible for any errors in the article.

References

REFERENCES

Albirini, A. (2011). The sociolinguistic functions of codeswitching between standard Arabic and dialectal Arabic. Language in Society, 40, 537562.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Albirini, A. (2014). Toward understanding the variability in the language proficiencies of Arabic heritage speakers. International Journal of Bilingualism, 18, 730765.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Albirini, A., & Benmamoun, E. (2014). Aspects of second language transfer in the oral production of Egyptian and Palestinian heritage speakers. International Journal of Bilingualism, 18, 244273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Albirini, A., & Benmamoun, E. (2015). Factors affecting the retention of sentential negation in heritage Egyptian Arabic. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 8, 470489.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Albirini, A., Benmamoun, A., & Saadah, E. (2011). Grammatical features of Egyptian and Palestinian Arabic heritage speakers’ oral production. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 33, 273303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Alhawary, M. T. (2009). Arabic second language acquisition of morphosyntax. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
Aoun, J., Benmamoun, E., & Choueiri, L. (2010). Arabic Syntax. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Arab American Institute. (2009). Arab Americans: Demographics. Retrieved from http://www.aaiusa.org/pages/demographics/.Google Scholar
Bardel, C., & Falk, Y. (2007). The role of the second language in third language acquisition: The case of Germanic syntax. Second Language Research, 23, 459484.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bassiouney, R. (2006). Functions of code-switching in Egypt. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Benmamoun, E. (1999). Arabic morphology: The central role of the imperfective. Lingua, 108, 175201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Benmamoun, E. (2000). The feature structure of functional categories. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Benmamoun, E., Albirini, A., Montrul, S., & Saadah, E. (2014a). Arabic plurals and root and pattern morphology in Palestinian and Egyptian heritage speakers. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, 4, 89123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Benmamoun, E., Abunasser, M., Al-Sabbagh, R., Bidaoui, A., & Shalash, D. (2014b). The location of sentential negation in Arabic varieties. Brill’s Annual of Afroasiatic Languages and Linguistics, 5, 83116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Berkes, É., & Flynn, S. (2012). Further evidence in support of the cumulative-enhancement model: CP structure development. In Cabrelli Amaro, J., Lynn, S., & Rothman, J. (Eds.), Third language acquisition in adulthood (pp. 143164). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: John Benjamins.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bos, P. (1997). Development of bilingualism: A study of school-age Moroccan children in the Netherlands. Tilburg, The Netherlands: Tilburg University Press.Google Scholar
Boumans, L. (2006). The attributive possessive in Moroccan Arabic spoken by young bilinguals in the Netherlands and their peers in Morocco. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 9, 213231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Chomsky, N. (1995). The minimalist program. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
De Angelis, G. (2005). Interlanguage transfer of function words. Language Learning, 55, 379414.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
El Aissati, A. (1996). Language loss among native speakers of Moroccan Arabic in the Netherlands (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Nijmegen, The Netherlands: University of Nijmegen.Google Scholar
Falk, Y., & Bardel, C. (2011). Object pronouns in German L3 syntax: Evidence for the L2 status factor. Second Language Research, 27, 5982.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Flynn, S., Foley, C., & Vinnitskaya, I. (2004). The cumulative-enhancement model for language acquisition: Comparing adults’ and children’s patterns of development in first, second and third language acquisition of relative clauses. International Journal of Multilingualism, 1, 317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Green, D. W. (2003). The neural basis of the lexicon and the grammar in L2 acquisition: The convergence hypothesis. In van Hout, R., Hulk, A., Huiken, F., & Towell, R. (Eds.), The interface between syntax and the lexicon in second language acquisition (pp. 197218). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: John Benjamins.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gutiérrez, J. (1997). Teaching Spanish as a heritage language: A case for language awareness. DFL Bulletin, 29, 3336.Google Scholar
Hawkins, J. A. (1999). Processing complexity and filler-gap dependencies across grammars. Language, 75, 244285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hermas, A. (2014). Multilingual transfer: L1 morphosyntax in L3 English. International Journal of Language Studies, 8, 124.Google Scholar
Hulsen, M., de Bot, K., & Weltens, B. (2002). Between two worlds: Social networks, language shift and language processing in three generations of Dutch migrants in New Zealand. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 153, 2752.Google Scholar
Iverson, M. (2009). Competing SLA hypotheses assessed: Comparing heritage and successive Spanish bilinguals of L3 Brazilian Portuguese. In Pires, A. & Rothman, J. (Eds.), Minimalist inquiries into child and adult language acquisition: Case studies across Portuguese (pp. 221244). Berlin: Mouton DeGruyter.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jaensch, C. (2012). Acquisition of L3 German: Do some learners have it easier? In Cabrelli Amaro, J., Lynn, S., & Rothman, J. (Eds.), Third language acquisition in adulthood (pp. 165194). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: John Benjamins.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jiménez, A. F. (2004). A sociocultural approach to language attrition. In Schmid, M. S., Köpke, B., Keijzer, M., & Weilemar, L. (Eds.), First language attrition: Interdisciplinary perspective on methodological issues (pp. 6180). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: John Benjamins.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Khamis-Dakwar, R. & Froud, K. (2007). Lexical processing in two language varieties: An event related brain potential study of Arabic native speakers. In Mughazy, M. (Ed.), Perspectives on Arabic linguistics XX (pp. 153168). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: John Benjamins.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kulundary, V., & Gabriele, A. (2012). Examining the role of L2 syntactic development in L3 acquisition: A look at relative clauses. In Cabrelli Amaro, J., Flynn, S., & Rothman, J. (Eds.), Third language acquisition in adulthood (pp. 195222). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: John Benjamins.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Montrul, S., Dias, R., & Santos, H. (2011). Clitics and object expression in the L3 acquisition of Brazilian Portuguese: Structural similarity matters for transfer. Second Language Research, 27, 2158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Odlin, T. (1989). Language transfer: Cross-linguistic influence in language learning. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Omar, M. (1973). The acquisition of Egyptian Arabic as a native language. The Hague: Mouton.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Paradis, M. (2007). L1 attrition features predicted by a neurolinguistic theory of bilingualism. In Köpke, B., Schmid, M., Keijzer, M., & Dostert, S., (Eds.), Language attrition: Theoretical perspectives (pp. 121134). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: John Benjamins.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pauwels, A. (1986). Diglossia, immigrant dialects and language maintenance in Australia: The case of limburgs and Swabian. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 7, 1330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Polinsky, M. (2015). When L1 becomes an L3: Do heritage speakers make better L3 learners? Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 18, 163178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pollock, J.-Y. (1989). Verb movement, Universal Grammar, and the structure of IP. Linguistic Inquiry, 20, 365424.Google Scholar
Potowski, K., Jegerski, J., & Morgan-Short, K. (2009). The effects of instruction of linguistic development on Spanish heritage language speakers. Language Learning, 59, 537579.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ringbom, H. (2001). Lexical transfer in L3-production. In Cenoz, J., Hufeisen, B., & Jessner, U. (Eds.), Cross-linguistic influence in third language acquisition: Psycholinguistic perspectives (pp. 5968). Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ringbom, H., & Jarvis, S. (2011). The importance of cross-linguistic similarity in foreign language learning. In Long, M. & Doughty, C. (Eds.), The handbook of language teaching (pp. 106118). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Rothman, J. (2011). L3 syntactic transfer selectivity and typological determinacy: The typological primacy model. Second Language Research, 27, 107127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rothman, J., & Cabrelli Amaro, J. (2010). What variables condition syntactic transfer? A look at the L3 initial state. Second Language Research, 26, 189218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Shlonsky, U. (1997). Clause structure and word order in Hebrew and Arabic: An essay in comparative semitic syntax. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Smadi, M. (1979). The acquisition of the Jordanian Arabic interrogation and negation by a three-year-old native speaker of Jordanian Arabic (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Texas at Austin.Google Scholar
Soltan, U. (2007). On formal feature licensing in minimalism: Aspects of standard Arabic morphosyntax (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Maryland at College Park.Google Scholar
Valdés, G. (2001). Heritage language students: Profiles and possibilities. In Peyton, J., Ranard, J., & McGinnis, S. (Eds.), Heritage languages in America: Preserving a national resource (pp. 3780). McHenry, IL: The Center for Applied Linguistics and Delta Systems.Google Scholar
5
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

IS LEARNING A STANDARD VARIETY SIMILAR TO LEARNING A NEW LANGUAGE?
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

IS LEARNING A STANDARD VARIETY SIMILAR TO LEARNING A NEW LANGUAGE?
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

IS LEARNING A STANDARD VARIETY SIMILAR TO LEARNING A NEW LANGUAGE?
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *