Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction (PhD)

Degree Level



Curriculum and Instruction


Chris Goering

Committee Member

Farah, Mounir

Second Committee Member

Bowles, Freddie


Arabic Language, Education, ESL, Language Transfer, Syntax


This study investigated the Impact of the First Language Transfer on English Language Syntax for Arab ESL Students at Private Language Center in Mid-Size University Town. The research population was 12 participants from Spring International Language Center through Intensive English Program and 7 participants from Adult Education center. The writing samples and interview were the main two instruments to analyze the data. I used constructive Analysis (CA), Error Analysis (EA), and coding to analyze the writing samples and the interview. The study focused on the syntax transfer between Arabic L1 and English L2, so Adjective/noun order, Subject/verb order, Number/numbered order, multi-adjectives order and others were the main syntax examples or challenges of the data collection and analysis The analysis of the writing samples and the interviews found out that L1 played a crucial role in influencing learners’ errors. In different words, the lack of English Proficiency and literal translation were the main causes of the negative or interlingual transfer. Consequently, the study results showed that all the errors made by the participants were interlingual. This meant that L1 transfer frequently affected the writing errors in L2. The data analysis of the participants’ frequent errors might have been influenced by CA-informed instruction students had and the levels of the students. The teaching implications of this study that teachers of ESL or EFL should be familiar with the errors causes that face students when they learn English. This coul be through conducting studies or research using CA and EA techniques or approaches. At the end, such adoption of those techniques can help to minimize the errors in general and writing skill in particular.