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Crosslinguistic influence in the Arabic of Iraqi Arabic-Swedish bilingual children (5-7) in Sweden
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of Linguistics and Philology.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The aim of this study is to investigate crosslinguistic influence in the Arabic language of Iraqi Arabic-Swedish bilingual children (5-7) who live in Sweden. The scope is to study lexical, morphological and syntactic uses in the children’s speech that do not belong to the Iraqi Arabic variety (IAV). The used research method was interview method that has been applied in a descriptive framework without any normative evaluations. The interviews were based on a series of narrative pictures that had already been designed for the Multilingual Assessment Instrument for Narratives (MAIN). The primary material is a corpus which totals 164 recorded minutes that were obtained from twelve Iraqi Arabic-Swedish bilingual children who are 5-7 years old. The secondary material was sociolinguistic background information that was obtained from the children’s parents by using a questionnaire.

The results revealed the following main points: (1) Most of the children’s linguistic uses that did not belong to IAV occurred mainly on the lexical level, less on the morphological level and least on the syntactic level. (2) Not all linguistic uses that do not belong to the IAV indicate a crosslinguistic influence in the children’s language development, because some of these uses occur occasionally. (3) Many linguistic uses that do not belong to the IAV were related to Modern standard Arabic (MSA), other Arabic varieties and Swedish, but some of them, e.g. morphological observations, were not related to a specific language. (4) Diglossia and bilingualism have led to different crosslinguistic influences on the children’s speech. Diglossia has led to lexical influence and bilingualism has led to lexical and syntactic influence. (5) The combination of diglossia and bilingualism can increase the crosslinguistic influence on the bilingual children compared to other bilingual children that do not experience this combination of both phenomena. (6) The fact that the children use MSA spontaneously along with their mother tongue shows that they learn MSA before they start school. (7) Use of other Arabic varieties by the children along with their mother tongue can bring these different Arabic varieties closer to the IAV and may also create a mixed variety in the future, if there is continuous and intensive language contact. (8) The results indicate the possible types of language acquisition for all children’s languages/varieties but without normative evaluation as the following: IAV as L1 (first language/mother tongue), Swedish as L1 or ESLA (early second language acquisition), MSA as ESLA or L2, and other Arabic varieties as ESLA or L2.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 127 p.
Keyword [en]
Iraqi Arabic-Swedish bilingual children, Arabic first language acquisition, crosslinguistic influence, bilingualism, code-switching, loan translation, transfer, Multilingual Assessment Instrument for Narratives (MAIN).
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-268559OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-268559DiVA: diva2:877781
Subject / course
Educational program
Masters in Humanities, Cultural Anthropology
2015-09-08, 9-3042, Thunbergsvägen 3 H, Uppsala, 16:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2016-01-29 Created: 2015-12-07 Last updated: 2016-01-29Bibliographically approved

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