L1 and L2 proficiency in Hebrew English adolescent learners
The chapter examines knowledge of Hebrew and English vocabulary and constructions in native Hebrew-speaking students defined as “poor readers” in English as L2. Participants were two groups of 7th graders – 14 good readers and 11 poor readers respectively, and two groups of 9th graders – 14 good readers and 15 poor readers respectively. They were administered two sets of tests in English as L2 and Hebrew as L1. Performance on all Hebrew tasks was heavily affected by English L2 reading group, explicitly linking poor readers in English to lower scores on all Hebrew tasks. Grade level was significant only where actual learning was taking place across early adolescence, as in the case of derived abstract nominal and passive voice construction. The chapter provides evidence for the role native-language proficiency plays in L2 proficiency.