This study investigates the difficulty order of relative clause structures in Arabic second language acquisition by checking the applicability of NPAH to predict such order using data taken from the Arabic Learner Corpus (ALC). In order to examine the hypothesis, quantitative methodology is used to determine the hierarchies of frequency and accuracy of RC structures used in non-native learners’ written and spoken production, and to determine whether L1 transfer affects acquisition order or not. Results reveal that the hierarchy of frequency is different from the hierarchy of accuracy, and both are different from the order suggested in NPAH. Findings support the significant role of language-specific characteristics in deciding the order of acquisition. Findings also support the common reported results, indicating that subject relative clauses structure is more accessible than direct object relative clauses. Regarding research, these findings suggest focusing on distinguishing features of individual languages and the effect of these features in the acquisition order of syntactic structures. Regarding pedagogy, results suggest that the different order of acquisition of subject relative clauses and direct object relative clauses can be used in evaluating learners’ proficiency levels.
Applied Linguistics Department
MA in Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language
Date of Award
Online Submission Date
El Essawi, Raghda
Committee Member 1
Committee Member 2
Abou El Seoud, Dalal
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(2016).Effectiveness of noun phrase accessibility hierarchy in predicting order of difficulty of relative clauses for AFL learners [Master’s thesis, the American University in Cairo]. AUC Knowledge Fountain.
Amin, Mohamed. Effectiveness of noun phrase accessibility hierarchy in predicting order of difficulty of relative clauses for AFL learners. 2016. American University in Cairo, Master's thesis. AUC Knowledge Fountain.