Spelling Errors Made by Arab Learners of English

Ali Alsaawi


Writing is a pivotal system that transfers spoken utterances from being heard to being seen and read. Literacy is appraised not only by reading and writing accurately, but also spelling words correctly. Pedagogically speaking, second language learners (L2) may struggle in their English writing more than first language speakers (L1) due to different reasons. Even among L2 learners, it is believed that Arab learners struggle with English spelling more than any other non-native speakers. This paper, therefore, is an attempt to review recent research and literature on the spelling errors made by Arab learners. In addition, a small experimental study of intermediate high school Saudi students aged 17-18 years old (n = 26) is implemented in a context that has not been explored yet. All participating students were tested before taking part in the study. The results of this study are consistent with previous research, which found that spelling errors made by Arab learners are associated with the impact of their L1. The most common spelling errors are consonant doubling, silent letters, final [e] and vowels in general. It is, thus, indispensable for Arab instructors and stakeholders to scrutinize this dilemma explicitly. 

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/ijl.v7i5.8446

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