Abdellah Elouatiq


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  • Elouatiq, A., & Karpava, S. (2019). The effect of L1 Tamazight literacy on L3/Additional language acquisition in Morocco. Talk presented at 3rd International Conference Literacy and Contemporary Society: Identities, Texts, and Institutions. Nicosia, Cyprus. 2019-10-11 - 2019-10-12.


    Cummins’ (1979) Linguistic Interdependence and Threshold Hypotheses suggest the existence of a “common underlying language proficiency” that is shared by both languages of the bilingual speaker. It also claims that the development of high academic skills in two languages is necessary for them to benefit from their bilingualism when acquiring additional languages. Moroccan Tamazight speaking children rarely receive L1 formal language lessons which is why they are L1 illiterate. This study explored whether children who acquired L1 Tamazight literacy skills acquired L2 Arabic/ L3 French and L4 English differently from their L1 illiterate peers. Two groups of Tamazight/Arabic bilinguals were compared: a control group (n=21) with no L1 literacy and an experimental group (n=15) with varying degrees of literacy in their L1. The students took a Raven’s Coloured Matrices test and then filled in a questionnaire based on Gardner’s (1985) Attitude/Motivation Test Battery. A Matched-Guise Test (Lambert et al., 1960) was also conducted. The parents filled in a questionnaire that elicited data about their children’s background information and language use at home. The questionnaire also measured the parents’ views about the language instruction in school. Finally, the children completed a set of cloze, fluency and literacy tests. The results suggest the existence of a biliterate advantage in Arabic cloze, Pseudoword reading, semantic fluency, and phonemic fluency tests. Biliterate bilinguals also outperformed their mono-literate peers in the following tests: French cloze, French semantic fluency, English Pseudoword reading, English semantic fluency, English phonemic fluency and Tamazight phonemic fluency. No statistically significant differences were found between groups in the rest of the tests. These results give partial support to Cummins’s Linguistic Interdependence Theory and Threshold Hypothesis (Cummins, 1979) and partially replicate many results of previous research (Abu-Rabia & Sanitsky, 2010; Schwartz, Geva, Share, & Leikin, 2007; Schwartz, Ibrahim, & Kahn-Horwitz, 2016).

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