LINGUIST List 15.545

Wed Feb 11 2004

Diss: Socioling: Saidi: 'The teaching...'

Editor for this issue: Takako Matsui <>


  1. sidiredouan2002, The teaching of Modern Standard Arabic to Moroccan children...

Message 1: The teaching of Modern Standard Arabic to Moroccan children...

Date: Wed, 11 Feb 2004 06:49:52 -0500 (EST)
From: sidiredouan2002 <>
Subject: The teaching of Modern Standard Arabic to Moroccan children...

Institution: Tilburg University
Program: Linguistics, Research Group on Language and Minorities
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2001

Author: Redouan Saidi

Dissertation Title: The teaching of Modern Standard Arabic to Moroccan
children in elementary schools in the Netherlands. A study on
proficiency status and input

Dissertation URL:

Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics 

Subject Language: Arabic, Standard (code: ABV)

Subject Language Family: Semitic (code: AFF)

Dissertation Director 1: Prof. Dr. Guus Extra
Dissertation Director 2: Dr. Jan Jaap De Ruiter
Dissertation Director 3: Prof. Dr. Kees Versteegh
Dissertation Director 4: Prof. Dr. Roeland van Hout

Dissertation Abstract:

This research has as its aim to present data on the status of Modern
Standard Arabic as offered in the Arabic Language Instruction
programme for Moroccan pupils in Dutch elementary schools from three
perspectives: proficiency, status and input. All the three studies
together are expected to provide not only insights into the level of
Modern Standard Arabic proficiency Moroccan pupils achieve at the
end of Dutch elementary schools, but also into the situation in
which these pupils are learning the language at stake in elementary
schools in the Netherlands. 

>From the point of view of the proficiency in Modern Standard Arabic,
earlier studies have shown that the Arabic proficiency of Moroccan
pupils in the Netherlands is rather low (Driessen, 1990; Van de
Wetering, 1990). The results of Driessen (1990) and Van de Wetering's
(1990) studies though are based on testing tasks which are limited in
focus. Their studies do not display a coherent concept of language
proficiency. The notion of proficiency as operationalized in their
research is conceived of as a monolithic ability, which makes it hard
to establish the proficiency levels of these children for certain
specific skills. More elaborate diagnostic instruments such as
standardized proficiency tests, used for assessing proficiency in
Arabic, produced more insightful results. As a consequence of the
orientation of research towards the receptive aspects of Modern
Standard Arabic, the productive skills have received no attention in
the research conducted so far. Also the earlier studies mentioned on
Arabic proficiency make use of children selected at random, without
taking into account the gross differences in exposure time to Arabic
between the children selected for testing. Therefore it is difficult
to get a complete picture of the effects of teaching of Modern
Standard Arabic on the proficiency of Moroccan children in this
language. The research conditions become more interesting through the
Arabic test replication in Morocco with a reference group. Use is made
of Arabic proficiency data of 20 children following Arabic education
in elementary schools (group 5) in a first language environment, i.e.,
Morocco. These data are used as reference data, offering a perspective
within which the results obtained in the Netherlands can be
viewed. With reference to the sample of children in the Netherlands, a
subset of children turned out to follow mosque schooling in addition
to HLI in Arabic. This provides an opportunity to investigate the
effect of mosque schooling on children's proficiency, of which very
little is known in the literature. A portion of the present study
conceitedly concerns the status of this form of Arabic instruction.

Apart from looking at Arabic proficiency, an attempt is further made
to identify the circumstances under which Moroccan children in Dutch
schools learn Arabic. Two relevant perspectives are incorporated: the
-perceived - status of Modern Standard Arabic and the input of Modern
Standard Arabic in classes of Arabic, at home and within the community
at large. Concerning the status study the major aim is to bring
together information about its current status as determined by the
interplay of the major four actors in the provision of Arabic:
Moroccan parents, their children, Arabic teachers and school
directors. Regarding the input study of Modern Standard Arabic, the
aim is to show what and how much Arabic language input is available
for Moroccan children inside and outside the school context to support
their proficiency in Modern Standard Arabic. With respect to input
within classes of Arabic, a research design combining self-reported
and observational data has been opted for.
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