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Phonological awareness and word reading development in Acehnese-Indonesian bilinguals learning English as a third language

Irnanda, Septhia

Authors

Septhia Irnanda septhia2.irnanda@live.uwe.ac.uk



Abstract

This study investigates the phonological awareness and multi-literacy acquisitions of Indonesian-speaking children with a varied level of Acehnese spoken language experience. The study specifically looks for the possibility of metalinguistic awareness benefit on the level of phonology by having Acehnese as a second spoken language after Indonesian, and the possibility of transfer of this phonological awareness into the third language English which is learnt formally at school as a foreign language. The other purposes of the study are to examine the roles of both Acehnese and English oral language vocabulary in the Acehnese and English word reading performances, respectively, once the L1 Indonesian word-reading skill is controlled.
Forty-six 7-year-old children from a primary school in Banda Aceh, Indonesia were given three vocabulary tests, each in Indonesian, Acehnese and English, and were assessed for their daily (passive and active) spoken language use in Indonesian and Acehnese through a parental questionnaire. The participants were also assessed for their non-verbal intelligence and phonological awareness abilities that includes phoneme deletion, syllable deletion, onset oddity and rime oddity in the three languages. Finally, the participants were assessed for their Indonesian, Acehnese and English word reading abilities through a list of 30 words arranged in increasing difficulty level.
The results of the study show that when Indonesian literacy skills is not controlled, having exposure to spoken Acehnese at home does not facilitate literacy and phonological awareness skills in Acehense, Indonesian or English. Once the Indonesian word reading skill and the level of intelligence are controlled, the Acehnese spoken language skills (Acehnese active use and Acehnese receptive vocabulary) is found to significantly predict the Acehnese word reading. The role of English vocabulary in English reading score is indicated to be significant even before the Indonesian literacy skill is controlled, but the significance level of L1 Indonesian word reading is still higher than the L3 English vocabulary skill in English word reading. The absence of L2 Acehnese orthographic knowledge, the L1 Indonesian orthographic dominance, as well as the L3 English opaque orthography are the primary causes of why no Indonesian-Acehnese bilingualism benefit found in the children’s L3 English phonological awareness and word reading skills, and why Indonesian and English proficiency levels are more important for increasing the phonological awareness.
This study contributes to early literacy teaching and learning in Aceh-Indonesian context, especially the teaching and learning to read in English as a foreign language. My study provides evidence that among multilingual children, the phonological processing skill can be elevated through teaching the orthographic knowledge of all the languages.

Thesis Type Thesis
APA6 Citation Irnanda, S. Phonological awareness and word reading development in Acehnese-Indonesian bilinguals learning English as a third language. (Thesis). University of the West of England. Retrieved from https://uwe-repository.worktribe.com/output/869379
Keywords bilingualism, phonological awareness, Indonesian, Acehnese, literacy

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