Reading and Writing

, 21:481 | Cite as

Morphological awareness, phonological awareness, and reading in English–Arabic bilingual children

  • E. Saiegh-HaddadEmail author
  • Esther Geva


The paper reported an exploratory study that tested (a) the relationship between phonological and morphological awareness in English (L1)–Arabic (L2) bilingual children in Canada (N = 43), and (b) the relevance of these skills to word and pseudoword reading accuracy, and to complex word reading fluency. The results showed a significant correlation between phonological awareness in English and in Arabic. However, morphological awareness in the two languages was not correlated. Phonological awareness predicted reading cross-linguistically, but only Arabic morphological awareness predicted word reading in English. Moreover, while both phonological and morphological awareness in English predicted independent unique variance in English word reading, only phonological awareness in Arabic predicted Arabic word reading. Complex-word reading fluency was predicted by morphological awareness within both languages. Similarly, in both languages, phonological awareness was the single factor predicting pseudoword decoding accuracy. The results are discussed in terms of cross-linguistic differences between English and Arabic in orthographic depth and in morphological structure and transparency.


Arabic Reading Morphological awareness Phonological Awareness Orthographic Depth Morphological Transparency 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.English DepartmentBar-Ilan UniversityRamat-GanIsrael

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