Dyslexia Cross-Linguistics: The Context of the Arabic Language
As the vast majority of dyslexia research is conducted in English on English-speaking communities, a pressing question within the literature on dyslexia research is the effectiveness of English-based research in the understanding of dyslexia in other languages. In other words, would it be plausible and acceptable to generalize the findings of dyslexia research with English speaking communities to non-English-speaking communities? The answer to this is mixed: while certain aspects and findings exhibit a generic nature and, therefore, could be used irrespective of their language setting, other aspects and findings are strongly bound to the language at hand. Indeed, some researchers point out that dyslexia studies across various languages do help each other, but that this should not discount the fact that languages do, in fact, differ from one another, and do, of course, have different characteristics. This being the case, it is argued that dyslexia must be studied in light of the language phonology, orthography and morphology properties (Goulandris , 2003; Goswami , 2000; Miles, 2000; Spencer, 2000 Smythe, Everatt and Salter 2004). The proposed paper works within the this extended frame of dyslexia research, as it aims to review dyslexia across linguistics in order to examine how the nature of different languages might affect the ease or degree of difficulty of learning to read.
A further aim of this paper is to discuss dyslexia in the context of Arabic language. The importance of this focus cannot be underestimated as Arabic is used throughout the Arab world by more than 230 million people, and as the Arabic script is used with modifications in Farsi, Urdu and Kurdish. Arabic phonology, orthography and morphology have distinctive features, features which have become the interest of a handful of researchers who attempt to understand dyslexia in light of these particular language properties. Based on research conducted in the area of dyslexia in Arabic language, as well as on recent field research I carried out in a similar area, in the proposed paper I will discuss the different characteristics of Arabic language and the ways in which they contribute to dyslexia manifestations in Arabic.
Keywords: Dyslexia, Arabic Language
PhD candidate, The Faculty of Education, The University of Cambridge