Arab EFL Learners’ Perspectives on L1 Influence: Factors and Constraints

Elham Salem Al-makatrah


This paper aims at examining the factors that cause L1 influence from the perspectives of adult native-Arabic speaking learners of English. It also reports on the possible constraints on L1 influence and further delves into the role of Psychotypology. Despite the recognition of the importance of L2 learners’ perspectives regarding the influence of their L1 and the factors contribute to such influence; this topic is an understudied area in the context of native-Arabic speaking learners of English. A semi-structured interview and a rewrite test were conducted with 40 undergraduate students at a public university, Jordan, where they were classified into two groups of 20 students each: beginner group and advanced group. The findings indicate that there are various causes of L1 influence including the peculiarity and complexity of some L2 structures/features as well as L1 –L2 structural differences. Learners’ psychotypological assessment of what is a similar, different, marked and unmarked structure across L1 and L2 is one of the restrictions on L1 influence. Moreover, Learners’ psychotypological assessment also varies depending on the learners’ L2 proficiency levels. The findings of this study can provide important insights into the research that considers various factors of the overall process of second language acquisition.


L1 influence, Language Distance, Markedness, Psychotypology

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