Recalling Arabic and English Prefixed and Suffixed Verbs among Arabic-English Bilingual Speakers: An Experimental Study in Relation to Working Memory

Jiyar Othman, Rashad Ahmed, Muhammad Alasmari


The current study focuses on how prefixes and suffixes in Arabic and English impact one’s working memory capacity to recall verbs.  Further, it deals with whether or not Arabic-English bilingual speakers recall Arabic and English prefixed and suffixed verbs differently. To investigate this, the study was conducted in the form of two experiments on a group of 10 graduate students. The first experiment was on Arabic prefixed and suffixed verbs, whereas the second experiment was conducted similarly on English. The study concluded that suffixed Arabic verbs were recalled more than the prefixed ones, whereas in English the result was contrary where the participants could recall prefixed verbs more than the suffixed ones. This shows that L2 (Second Language) does not differ from L1 (First Language) in the effort exerted to recall words. Rather, the findings may suggest that it is easier to recall words in the second language, which might be due to the intensive instruction received in the second language. The study also discovered that several other factors played important roles in making the participants recall the items such as word-length effect, frequency and recency of the words.



Arabic-English bilinguals, working memory, recalling verbs, prefixed verbs, suffixed verbs

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