Arab World English Journal (April 2017)                               Theses / Dissertation (ID 177)

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Author: Aisha Mohammed Asiri
Thesis Title: The Linguistic Interference between English and Arabic at the Morphemic Level by Saudi Female Students
Subject/major: Linguistics
Institution: Al-Imam Mohammad bin Saud Islamic University, College of languages and translation, Department of English language and Literature
Degree: Master of Arts in Linguistics
Year of award: 2016
Supervisor: Dr. Oraib Al-Faoury
Keywords: linguistic interference, morphemic level, negative transfer, positive transfer


The purpose of this study was to investigate the linguistic interference between Arabic and English among Saudi bilingual female speech. The main aims were to find out the reasons behind this phenomenon and the effects of this interference on the bilinguals’ speech. The sample included 30 Saudi female students studying English as a foreign language at Al-Imam Mohammed bin Saud Islamic University in Riyadh. Qualitative methods included interview, group discussion, and direct observation were used. The data were collected using audio recordings and written notes. Then, all the recordings were transcribed and coded by the researcher. Moreover, qualitative and quantitative data analyses were applied in the study. The results of the study revealed that there are many reasons that cause the interference between the L1 and L2 in the bilinguals’ speech. The most important reason is that Arab learners of English encounter difficulties in their use of the English words and the interference between the two languages takes place because of the differences between the rules and the systems of the both languages. Furthermore, the lack of the learners’ knowledge and competence are other reasons that may lead to this interference. Another reason for interference is overgeneralization. Direct transfer from Arabic into English leads to positive transfer due to the similarities between the two languages. On the other hand, there are cases where the participants made many mistakes due to the lack of equivalents in both languages. However, it is important to mention that the differences between the first and the second language do not always cause difficulties in second language learning. In addition, the interference between the two languages is not always the reason behind the mistakes made by the learners. Other factors that may cause the mistakes include lack of students’ knowledge and the teaching methods applied by the teachers. Therefore, the findings of this study may help teachers concentrate on the areas that seem to be problematic for students. In addition, they may help students overcome a large number of errors caused by the interference between Arabic and English.

Note: Citing this thesis, please use:
Asiri, Aisha . (2016).  The Linguistic Interference between English and Arabic at the Morphemic Level by Saudi Female Students. Al-Imam Mohammad bin Saud Islamic University, College of languages and translation, Department of English language and Literature. (Master’s Thesis).
Retrieved from (Arab World English Journal Database. (ID Number: 177, April, 2017).