Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Program Name/Specialization

Developmental Psychology


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Alexandra Gottardo

Advisor Role



Knowledge of orthographic depth, the degree of letter-sound consistency, is one of the important skills that must be acquired by beginning readers. Vowelized Arabic and Farsi scripts are consistent in terms of grapheme-phoneme mappings and beginning readers should find it easier to read regular and consistent words. However, vowels are removed from Farsi and Arabic texts read by more experienced learners, which make these script forms more challenging for readers. Sixty students who were learning to read Farsi or Arabic (age range of 7-14 years) were tested for reading ability as well as cognitive and phonological processing in two languages: Farsi or Arabic as the first language (L1) and English as the second language (L2). Since there has been no previous study on the effects of including or excluding vowels in Farsi orthography, the first aim was to investigate the performance of Farsi readers in vowelized and unvowelized tasks. It was found that Farsi-English bilinguals performed better on vowelized tasks in comparison to unvowelized tasks. This indicates that including vowels facilitates reading skills of these students. Unexpectedly, vowelization made no differences in reading skills of Arabic-English bilinguals in this study. It was also found that phonological awareness in the L1 was related to phonological awareness in the L2. Finally, phonological and morphological awareness and vocabulary knowledge were strong predictors of word reading in L1 and L2. One practical implication of the present study would be to avoid the elimination of vowels from text for Farsi-English bilinguals.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season