Comparative Arabic and English Literacy: A Study of Female University Students' Practices in Saudi Arabia

Islam Ababneh


This paper presents a comparative study of Arabic and English literacy skills and practices for Saudi female university students at their homes and at their school as indicated by the students themselves using literacy questionnaires. The study did not evaluate the proficiency of the students in any aspect of the language such as phonology, vocabulary, or grammar but rather compiled students' answers to the availability of literacy resources in English and in Arabic in their homes/school and the students' practices of literacy in both languages. Data was gathered by distributing two types of questionnaires (Arabic and English) to 200 students of English major at the department of linguistics and translation at the University of Tabuk, which is a government university in Saudi Arabia. Supporting data of cultural and religious influences on literacy was obtained through the researcher's own notes and observations. The purpose of the questionnaires was to investigate mainly: the students' literacy practices and frequency of using Arabic and English and the literacy infrastructure and literacy resources available to the students at their homes and at their school. The students' answers to the questionnaires indicated that most students interacted using mainly Arabic and very little English at their homes and they used some English at their school, which is related to reading their school academic books, doing homework assignments, and having rare English conversations with their classroom teachers.



Arabic literacy, English literacy, Saudi Arabia

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