Arab World English Journal
Volume. 1 Number. 1 Oct. 2010                                                                        PP.3-23

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Arab Learners of English and Reverse Visualization as a Reading Problem

Professor Z. N. PATIL
The English and Foreign Languages University
Hyderabad, India


Reading is a gateway to language learning as it is the only/major source of input in a foreign/second language situation. Several factors influence reading speed and comprehension, for example, learner‟s language aptitude, attitude to the target language, and motivation. Much research has already been done in these areas.
The areas that have remained the Cinderella of research into reading skills are the impacts of (1) the phonological differences between English and Arabic, (2) the letter-sound disparity of the English language, (3) the phonological similarities between some English words and Arabic obscene and vulgar words and (4) the reverse directionality of the English writing system, as compared to right-to-left writing system of the Arabic language on reading pace and message reception. The present paper attempts to illustrate how speed and comprehension are adversely affected by reverse visualization, and offers suggestions to overcome the hurdles.

Keywords: reading speed, comprehension, sub-vocalization, fixation, regression, reverse visualization.


Dr. Z. N. Patil is a Professor of English in the Department of Training and Development, School of English
Language Education of the English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad, India. Besides teaching
English for specific and practical purposes, he organizes consultancy workshops for government and private
firms in India. He taught English to pre-service diplomats and in-service seaport officers in Vietnam from
1999 to 2002 and served as Senior English Language Adviser in Japan from 2003 to 2006. His major
publications include Style in Indian English Fiction: A study in politeness strategies (New Delhi: Prestige
Publishers, 1994) and Spoken English for Vietnamese Learners (Hanoi: The World Publishers, 2002). He is
associated with online “Asian EFL Journal” (Associate Editor till October 2007; Regional Advisor since
then), “Asian ESP Journal” (Senior Editor), “The Linguistics Journal” (Senior Associate Editor), “TESOL
Law Journal” (Regional Advisor), “Journal of English as an International Language” (Senior Advisor: since
2007), “Iranian Journal of Language Studies” (Regional Advisor/Editor: since 2006), “Journal of Educational
Technology” (Member of Editorial Team), and “Journal of Research Practice” (Reviewer: since 2005).