Persistence of Interference from L1 Arabic in Written Hebrew

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As the official and predominant public language in Israel, Hebrew is taught in Arab minority schools, mostly by L1 Arabic-speaking teachers. Active acquisition of Hebrew accelerates in the immersion conditions of high education. I explore the persistence of very common interference errors in various linguistic domains, as established by teachers' written corrective feedback, and the correlation between persistence, error salience and a general learner effect. From a corpus of 56 Hebrew essays written by 9th graders, 11th graders and undergraduate students in southern Israel, the 14 most frequent interference errors were isolated and incorporated in a compiled test essay, which was then given to 13 L1 Arabicspeaking teachers of Hebrew to correct. The salience of each item was established by the percentage of teachers correcting it; each was also graded for its status as a general learners' error. Statistical analysis showed a significant correlation between each of these two measures and persistence over the time period studied. This corroborates a multiple effect approach to persistence. Localized errors of phonology, orthography, and morphology generally declined faster than syntactic errors, which persisted especially in structures that occur in L1 Hebrew, marked for discourse-pragmatic effects.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1-31
Number of pages31
JournalL1-Educational Studies in Language and Literature
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • fossilization (stabilization; persistence)
  • general learner (developmental) effect
  • interference (negative transfer)
  • perceptual salience
  • written corrective feedback
  • written interlanguage (learner) corpus

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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