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Literacy Acquisition in Multilingual Eritrea

A comparative study of reading across languages and scripts

Yonas Asfaha

148 pages
Amsterdam University Press
This book reports on a multidisciplinary research project that aimed to compare literacy acquisition in different languages and scripts in Eritrea (Horn of Africa), where linguistic and cultural diversities are acknowledged in the language and education policies. The policy promotes primary education in the nine languages and the alphasyllabic Ge’ez, alphabetic Latin and Arabic scripts used in the country.
Using theoretical frameworks and methodologies from different disciplines such as sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, and education, the study compared literacy acquisition and transfer of literacy skills from first to second language across different languages and scripts. It also surveyed literacy attitudes and values, and the social uses of literacy among the nine ethnolinguistic groups in Eritrea. With additional data coming from classroom observations of literacy instruction practices in four languages, the study provides a compelling picture of comparative literacy acquisition and instruction in a multilingual educational context.