Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 12. Number4   December 2021                                     Pp. 167 -177

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Effects of Language Variety and Word Availability in Commercial Advertisements on
Listener’s Lexical Recall

Munerah Algernas
Department of Linguistics & Translation Studies
College of Languages & Translation
King Saud University, Saudi Arabia
Corresponding Author:

Yahya Aldholmi
Department of Linguistics & Translation Studies
College of Languages & Translation
King Saud University, Saudi Arabia


Received: 9/15/2021               Accepted:  10/20/2021                       Published: 12/15/2021


Commercial advertisements in Arabic-speaking regions tend to alternate between dialectal Arabic and Modern Standard Arabic, but it is not yet clear whether language variety has any impact on listener’s lexical recall. Insight into this issue should help enterprises design their commercial advertisements in a linguistically intelligent manner. This study addresses two questions: 1) How does language variety (dialectal vs. standard) affect listener’s lexical recall in commercial advertisements? 2) Do listeners recall words that have appeared in dialectal advertisements better than those that did not appear in advertisements using the same variety? Fifteen Saudi participants responded to a forced-choice memory test with 24 yes-no questions (3 per advertisement) asking participants to report whether they heard a specific key word in eight advertisements that utilized different language varieties. The findings show that Arabic speakers tend to perceive both Modern Standard Arabic and dialectal Arabic in commercial advertisements similarly, but tend to recall the presence of a key word in an advertisement better than its absence. Future research may increase the sample size and examine more Arabic varieties.
Keywords: commercial advertisements, dialectal Arabic, memory, Modern Standard Arabic, language variety, lexical recall

Cite as: Algernas, M., &  Aldholmi, Y. (2021).  Effects of Language Variety and Word Availability in Commercial Advertisements on Listener’s Lexical Recall.  Arab World English Journal, 12 (4) 167-177.


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Received: 9/15/2021  
Accepted: 10/20/2021 
Published: 12/15/2021

Munerah Algernas a graduand MA student of linguistics in the Department of Linguistics and Translation studies, King Saud University. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English language and literature from Prince Sattam bin Abdulaziz University. Her chief research interests are both theoretical and experimental linguistics, including sociolinguistics and psycholinguistics. ORCID ID:

Yahya Aldholmi, PhD. an assistant professor in the Department of Linguistics and Translation Studies, King Saud University. His primary research interest is “experimental linguistics”, with a focus on speech perception, and his secondary interests are theoretical linguistics (mainly phonology) and applied linguistics (mainly language acquisition and forensic phonetics). Other than linguistics degrees, he also holds an MS in computer science and an MS in educational technology, which stretch his interests outside the linguistics domain. ORCID ID: