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Title: Visual word processing of non-Arabic-speaking Qur'anic memorisers
Authors: Binte Faizal, Siti Syuhada
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Visual word processing typically involves the interplay between orthographic, phonological, morphological, and semantic knowledge. However, there are atypical learning situations where the input of one of the above is limited, such as rote memorisation of the Qur’an with little semantic input. This is common in non-Arabic-speaking countries where speakers from Muslim communities learn how to read the Qur’an without understanding what it means. Despite this unique and pervasive phenomenon, little work has been carried out in this area. The goal of this dissertation is to investigate the visual word processing of non-Arabic-speaking Qur’an memorisers at three levels of processing—lexical, sublexical, and morphological. It also aimed to investigate individual differences through examining potential interactions of effects with Qur’an vocabulary knowledge and amount of Qur’an memorised, thereby informing us of the roles of semantics and print exposure to the language in visual word processing. Using stimuli constructed from the Qur’an Lexicon Project, a series of psycholinguistic experiments were conducted with non-Arabic-speaking Qur’an readers and memorisers from Singapore. Participants were given two visual lexical decision tasks (one with morphological priming and one without) and a speeded pronunciation task. A standardised Qur’an Vocabulary Test was also given to measure their vocabulary knowledge and self-reports of Qur’anic memorisation scores were elicited to measure the amount and fluency of Qur’anic memorisation. Findings from these experiments provide insight into the factors influencing the visual word processing of non-Arabic-speaking Qur’an memorisers and demonstrate that the influence of these factors can vary differentially depending on one’s vocabulary knowledge and amount of Qur’an memorised, given several significant three-way interactions. The findings broadly suggest the implicit learning of lexical and sublexical features of a writing system through exposure to its orthography and phonology, despite limited exposure to semantics, with vocabulary knowledge and statistical exposure to the language ii playing different but interdependent roles in strengthening the quality of lexical and sublexical representations. However, for morphological processing, findings suggest that vocabulary knowledge plays a more important role alongside statistical exposure in the implicit learning of roots whereas statistical exposure is more important than vocabulary knowledge in the implicit learning of word patterns, which is consistent with the view that roots and word patterns represent distinct structural characteristics in Semitic languages
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

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