Morphological, phonological awareness and their development in English-Arabic bilingual children in the UK

Table of Contents

Background of the study. 2

Literature review.. 3

Significance of the study. 4

Research question. 4

Hypothesis of the study. 4

References. 5


Morphological, phonological awareness and their development in English-Arabic bilingual children in the UK

Background of the study

Arabic language has been widely used in both northern Africa and western Asia. In fact, the language has been made the official language in twenty five territories and countries (García, Zakharia & Otcu, 2012). However, despite these countries are believed to traditionally constitute these Arabic populations, there are other countries that home large numbers of Arabic-speaking populations. For instance, both United Kingdom and United States have been experiencing an increasing influx of Arabic-speaking populations (Bhatia & Ritchie, 2013). Students will experience challenges when the mode of instruction changes from their native language into a new foreign language. This has been the case for many Arabic bilingual children in the United Kingdom. Children and students, especially those lacking bilingual skills, have found it challenging to communicate with their colleagues in UK. Following such challenges, it is prerequisite to adopt the concept of bilingual training among the students. This paper is going to give theoretical literature of what has been done previously in regard to bilingual concept.

Literature review

Significant research has been underway over the past few years and is still carried out in the modern days and has been directed towards the concept of general understanding. English is used as an international language implying that everyone should have a good grasp of the language in order to facilitate smooth communication both at regional and international levels (Canado, 2010). Morphological awareness has thus been very essential for students of ESL as it has been found to influence both L1 and L2 (Ryan, 2013). According to Lawrence (2008), morphological awareness alongside reading vocabularies play vital roles in the sense that they help in the acquisition of written vocabularies. This is because the meanings of the English units are installed within the morphemes. Studies show that both morphology (meaning) and phonology (sound) are the key constituents of written language which morphophonemic in nature (Lawrence, 2008).   Phonemic awareness has been classified as one of the most determinants of how children, in their two years of study, will learn to read. According to research, children who exhibit good phonemic awareness skills after completion of their kindergarten year are more become good readers. The reverse is also true (Linan-Thompson & Vaughn, 2007). Most interesting though, is the fact that those people who earlier have had reading difficulties, as well as beginners of English Language Learners, can effectively acquire the skills if appropriate instruction on phonemic awareness is given and adequate amount of time is used for training (Karawani & Banai, 2010). Phonemic awareness has a far reaching impact on later reading. Under the concept of phonology, phonemic awareness is the most complex as it deals with the working of individual sound levels. It is important to conduct progress monitoring in phonemic awareness for the purpose of identifying those students prone to failing (Jeffries, 2006).

Significance of the study

To critical asses the developmental trend of bilingual language among the Arab populations, especially those in the United Kingdom. UK is among other countries that are experiencing an increasing influx in the number of Arab-speaking populations (Kenner, 2008). The study will enable the researcher to validate previous studies on the subject as well as come up with recommendations to address any challenges encountered by learners of bilingual languages.

 Research question

  • How does morphological, phonological awareness have on the development of English skills among Arab-bilingual children?

Hypothesis of the study

  • Morphological, Phonological awareness have a positive effect on the development of English skills among Arab-bilingual children.


Bhatia, T. K., & Ritchie, W. C. (2013). The handbook of bilingualism and multilingualism. Chichester, West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

Canado, M. L. P. (2010). The transformation of teacher and student roles in the European higher education area. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 1(2), 103-110.

García, O., Zakharia, Z., & Otcu, B. (2012). Bilingual community education and multilingualism: Beyond heritage languages in a global city. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Lawrence, J. M. (2008). Differences in Morphological Awareness Skills Between Children with Phonological Impairment and Children with Typical Development. Michigan: ProQuest.

Karawani, H & Banai, K. (2010). Speech-evoked brainstem responses in Arabic and Hebrew speakers. International Journal of Audiology, 1-6.

Kenner, C., Gregory, E., Ruby, M & Al-Azami S. (2008).Bilingual learning for second and third generation children. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 21(2), 120-137.

Linan-Thompson, S., & Vaughn, S. (2007). Research-based methods of reading instruction for English language learners, grades K-4. Alexandria, Va: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Jeffries, L. (2006). Discovering Language: The Structure of Modern English. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Ryan, J. (2013). Education Reform in China: Changing Concepts, Contexts and Practices. London: Routledge.