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The Transferability of Reading Strategies between L1 (Arabic) and L2 (English)

GHUMA, MASOUD,A,MOH (2011) The Transferability of Reading Strategies between L1 (Arabic) and L2 (English). Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Relationships between learners’ languages were usually studied in the form of tracing transfer of linguistic items from one language to the other. This study explored the Libyans university students’ transferability of reading strategies from the first language (Arabic) to the foreign language (English) and vice versa.
In a foreign language environment, textbooks are usually the only medium for practising reading in that language. Reading textbooks prescribed in Basic Education and Secondary Education were explored to highlight the reading strategies the students practised and to answer the following research questions: (1) What reading strategies are presented in first language (L1) reading textbooks and in English as foreign language (L2) reading textbooks? Are there any differences in the reading strategies introduced in L1 reading textbooks and L2 reading textbooks? Results of comparing the strategies addressed in L1 and L2 reading textbooks indicated that some of the strategies were presented in one language’s reading textbooks rather than in those of the other language.
Based on textbook analyses, two Cloze tests (one in Arabic and the other in English) were developed and administered to first year university students in three colleges in North West Libya. These tests were used to define good and poor readers and used as a basis for providing a reading environment in which they might use their reading strategies.
In each college, and after defining good and poor achievers in the Cloze test, two subjects from each group were interviewed. These interviewees were selected through stratified sampling and random sampling, respectively. The first group of interview questions investigated the reading strategies used during the Cloze tests while the second group sought to examine the reading strategies mentioned by the subjects in suggested reading situations based on the data collected from the textbooks. This procedure was carried out to answer the following research questions: What reading strategies does a representative sample of first year university students use in L1 reading and in L2 reading? Do the participants transfer any reading strategies (presented in the textbooks) from L1 to L2 or vice versa? If yes, what L1 reading strategies do good and poor readers transfer to L2 reading comprehension? And what L2 reading strategies do good and poor readers transfer to L1 reading comprehension?
Results from the interviews indicated that good and poor readers alike transferred certain reading strategies between the two languages (Arabic and English). These strategies were mainly local, i.e. relevant to single words and sentences. However, some strategies were transferred only by good readers. These strategies were holistic i.e. they required awareness and account of the discourse.
These results indicate that transferability is affected not only by readers’ ability but also by the kind of strategy he or she uses, i.e. whether it is local or universal. Moreover, it can be concluded that textbooks are not the only source of learning reading strategies.
This study suggests there may be a far wider potential than within one country where more than one language are learned for reviewing reading strategies, implicit or intentional, in L2 textbooks and the extent to which learners are able to respond to them.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:'reading', 'strategies', 'transfer', 'textbooks', 'first language', 'foreign language'
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Education, School of
Thesis Date:2011
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:11 Jul 2011 11:42

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