You’ll receive an email with a confirmation link soon.
Research In progress
Principal Investigator: Lizz Huntley, Ph.D. Candidate, Michigan State University
About the researcher: Huntley is a doctoral candidate in Second Language Studies and training as a psycholinguistic at Michigan State University under the supervision of Dr. Aline Godfroid. Huntley began studying Arabic in college and felt a continued disconnect with the Arabic she was learning in the classroom, and the Arabic she needs to live in an Arabic speaking country.
Abstract: How can students of Arabic learn both a dialect and MSA? There is lots of anecdotal evidence on both sides of the argument – whether to teach only MSA or to teach integrating a dialect and MSA; what the field is missing is empirical research into how multiple registers of Arabic (i.e. MSA and a dialect) can be acquired and processed by learners. The research question driving this study is “How can students of Arabic learn both a dialect and MSA?” The proposed study explores how students learn Arabic diglossia. The broader field of Second Language Acquisition characterizes diglossia as a form of “sociolinguistic variation” (SLV). This study is one of the first to use psycholinguistic research methods to explore the acquisition of SLV in Arabic and looks at the fundamental cognitive process underlying simultaneous acquisition of MSA and dialects.
Why is QFI Funding this? QFI promotes classroom approaches that focus on the communicative aspects of the language. After all, what is the point of learning a language? When students learn a language, they are also demonstrating an increased interest in not only speaking the language but also understanding more about the cultures associated with it, including learning about the countries and people who live where this language is spoken. This means when teaching Arabic, it is essential to consider the total Arabic language and all its varieties, including Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and the various dialects of Arabic. This is just as essential to a student from an Arab background wanting to learn more about their own language as it is to someone who has no prior connection to Arabic, but just wants to learn a brand-new language. There is not enough empirical research looking at how students can learn both MSA and dialects simultaneously, which is why we are very excited about Lizz Huntley’s study.