The Unit of Arabic Language Research

Team: Prof. Asaid Khateb Prof. Zohar Eviatar, Prof. Raphiq Ibrahim, Dr. Haitham Taha.


The Unit of Arabic Language Research
The goal of the unit is to extend psycholinguistic and neurolinguistic research of the Arabic language with focus on the reading of Arabic.


Prof. Asaid Khateb and his research:

In their collaboration with other colleagues abroad, Prof. Khateb and his team continued their collaboration with Prof. Jean-Marie Annoni from Geneva/Fribourg University on issues of semantic processing and language control in the bilingual brain (EEG and fMRI projects).

In his own projects and collaborations in Haifa, some of Prof. Khateb's ongoing projects were finished and several studies are now under publication (submitted or in revision, and some in preparation). In one new study now in the phase of data collection, behavioral and ERP measures will compare reading in spoken Arabic (SA) with reading high frequency and low frequency literary Arabic (LA) words. The hypothesis is that SA high frequency written words will be comparable to LA low frequency written words. A paper on a first study in fMRI during semantic processing of SA and LA words is now in preparation. In a new pilot with fMRI (the study started October 2013), the team compared the speed of lexical decision in LA and SA in the visual and auditory modality. Several papers assessing the factors that predict spelling, reading and reading comprehension were finished in collaboration with Dr. Ibrahim Assadi and other colleagues in Haifa.

Prof. Khateb is supervising 9 Master's and 3 Doctoral students this year.

  
Prof. Raphiq Ibrahim
Prof. Raphiq Ibrahim:

This year, Prof. Ibrahim is supervising 1 Master's and 3 Doctoral students.

 

Prof. Zohar Eviatar:

Prof. Eviatar's main focus of research this year was a project working with a doctoral student Aula Khatteb Abu-Leilon research exploring Literacy in multiple Arabics: Effects of Diglossia and Orthography. The goal of this research project is to control the influence of these two variables: diglossia and orthographic complexity on literacy, by testing performance in reading, reading comprehension and narrative written production tasks, of skilled readers in their mother tongue, spoken Arabic by using the new Arabic writing system that is developing in a bottom-up fashion: ‘‘Arabizi’’, and to compare this performance with the same of tasks in Literary, or Modern Standard Arabic.

With another doctoral student, Lateefa Maroun, Prof. Eviatar researched Dyslexia in Arabic - Comparison of reading in Arabic in Arabic native speakers and in Hebrew in Hebrew native speakers: Reading disabilities and hemispheric involvement. This project focuses on readers in 4th, 5th, and 6th grades in Arabic speaking and Hebrew speaking elementary schools. The study will focus on the effects of the characteristics of the Arabic and Hebrew orthography on reading single words in a lateralized behavioral study, using the divided visual field paradigm, and will utilize the imaging technology via functional Near Infra-Red Spectroscopy (fNIRS), which allows measurement of blood flow in cortical areas while children are performing reading tasks. The focus will be on the visual and phonological similarities in the Hebrew and Arabic orthography, and especially, on the interactions between these factors and hemispheric differences in involvement in the process of reading.

 

Dr. Haitham Taha:

Currently, Dr. Taha is focusing on two main avenues of research:
  1. Modulation of the N170 and P2 during orthographic decision task: Evidence from Arab-German Bilingual Readers.
  2. How does the linguistic distance between spoken and written language in Arabic affect recall and recognition in verbal memory.