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Does memorization without comprehension result in language learning?

Saleem, Amjad 2015. Does memorization without comprehension result in language learning? PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Abstract

Muslims across the world memorize the Quran in Arabic for verbatim recall. Memorizers can be native speakers of Arabic, non-native speakers of Arabic, or non-Arabic speakers. The last category of speakers constitutes an unusual learner population, in that they cannot draw on primary linguistic knowledge to assist their memorization. Research on memorization suggests that memorization may instil sensitivity to patterns that can be used to bootstrap learning. The purpose of this study is to investigate if memorization of the Quran by non-Arabic speaking memorizers leads to pattern recognition in Classical Arabic. Memorizers of the Quran with no knowledge of Arabic were tested on their awareness of language patterns through a grammaticality judgement task (study 2). Contrary to implicit predictions in the research literature, findings from the language tests indicated that the participants had not developed any sensitivity to the morphological patterns of Classical Arabic. These results are discussed in the light of expert Quran memorizers’ reflections on their memorization practices (study 1), including what they brought to the act of memorization and what, according to them, underlay their success in memorization. It is proposed that memorizers’ extreme risk aversion in memorization stands in their way of developing awareness of the language patterns. This interpretation is further evidenced by results from a follow up study on native speakers of Arabic, who also did poorly on the grammaticality judgement task. The conclusion drawn is that Quran memorizers recite accurately because they don’t learn the language. It is further concluded that Quran memorization is a special case, in which a range of extra linguistic factors such as identity, motivation and intention play an important role

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Funders: Peshawar University
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2016 01:30
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/75307

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