Effects of morphological awareness on second language vocabulary knowledge

Fatma Demiray Akbulut


This research analysed the impact of morphological treatment in English morphological awareness task. The main aim of this study is to understand the relationship between morphological awareness and vocabulary knowledge of university preparatory class students. In second language learning environment, fifty-two preparatory class students have participated in this study. The participants have been divided into two groups as experimental and control group. Experimental group was conducted three hours of morphological guideline and morpheme teaching treatment during twelve weeks whereas control group was exposed to traditional vocabulary teaching. To explore the effects of morphological treatment on English vocabulary acknowledgement, all participants completed Nation’s Vocabulary Size Test (2001), language history questionnaire and Morphological Awareness Test (Part A and B). The relationship between the pre-tests and post-tests results has shown that experimental group acquired higher score on vocabulary recognition than control group after thirty-six-hours treatment. These findings indicate that the participants who obtained morphological treatment took in consideration the morphemes and vocabulary items better than the others who took traditional vocabulary teaching procedure.


Morphological awareness, vocabulary teaching, morphology

Full Text:



Anglin,J. M. (1993). Vocabulary development: A morphological analysis. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, Serial No. 238, 58(10).

Apel, K., Diehm , E., & Apel, L. (2013). Using multiple measures of morphological awareness to assess its relation to reading. Topics in Language Disorders, 33 ( 1 ), 42 – 56.

Armbruster, B.B., Lehr, F., & Osborn, J. (2001). Put reading first: The research building blocks for teaching children to read, kindergarten through grade 3. Washington, DC: National Institute for Literacy.

Biemiller A., & Slonim, N. (2001). Estimating root word vocabulary growth in normative and advantaged populations: Evidence for a common sequence of vocabulary acquisition. Journal of Educational Psychology, 93(3), 498–520

Carlisle, J. F. (2003). Morphology matters in learning to read: A commentary. ReadingPsychology, 24, 291–322.

Chang, C. M., Wagner, R. K., Muse, A., W.-Y., B., & Chow, H. S. (2005). The role of morphological awareness in children’s vocabulary acquisition in English. Applied Psycholinguistics, 26, 415–435.

Deacon, S.H., & Kirby, J.R. (2004). Morphological awareness: Just “more phonological?” The roles of morphological and phonological awareness in reading development. Applied Psycholinguistics, 25, 223–238.

Fowler, A. E., & Liberman, I. Y. (1995). The role of phonology and orthography in morphological awareness. In L. B. Feldman (Ed.) Morphological aspects of language processing (pp. 157–188). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Fracasso , L.E. , Bangs , K. , & Binder , K.S . (2014). The contributions of phonological and morphological awareness to literacy skills in the Adult Basic Education population. Journal of Learning Disabilities. Advance online publication.

Hall, R., Greenberg , D., Laures-Gore, J. , & Pae, H.K. ( 2014 ). The relationship between expressive vocabulary knowledge and reading skills for adult struggling readers. Journal of Research in Reading, 37 (S1), S87 – S100.

Herman , J. , Gilbert Cote , N. , Reilly , L. , & Binder , K.S. ( 2013 ). Literacy skill differences between adult native English and native Spanish speakers. Journal of Research and Practice for Adult Literacy, Secondary, and Basic Education, 2 (3), 147 – 155.

Kirby, J., & Bowers, P. (2012). Morphology works. Research Monograph 41. Retrieved from


Kuo, L. & Anderson, R. C. (2006). Morphological awareness and learning to read: A cross language perspective. Educational Psychologist, 41, 161–180.

Laufer, B., & Nation, P. (1999). A vocabulary-size test of controlled productive ability. Language Testing, 16, 33 - 51.

Levin, J. R., Levin, M. E., Glasman, L. D., & .Nordwall, M. B. (1992). Mnemonic vocabulary instruction: Additional effectiveness evidence. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 17, 156-174.

Libben, G., & Jarema, G. (2004). Conceptions and questions concerning morphological processing. Brain and Language, 90, 2–8.

Long, D., & Rule, A. C. (2004). Learning vocabulary through morpheme word family object boxes. Journal of Authentic Learning, 1, 40-50.

Maag , L. K . (2007). Measuring morphological awareness in adult readers: Implications for vocabulary development (Unpublished doctoral dissertation) . University of Florida, Gainesville.

McCutchen , D. , Green , L. , & Abbott , R.D. ( 2008 ). Children’s morphological knowledge: Links to literacy. Reading Psychology, 29 (4), 289 – 314.

McKeown, M. G., Beck, I., Omanson, R. C., & Perfetti, C. A. (1983). The effects of long-term vocabulary instruction on reading comprehension: A replication. Journal of Reading Behaviour, 15, 3–18.

Mellard, D. F., & Fall, E. (2012). Component model of reading comprehension for adult education participants. Learning Disability Quarterly, 35 (1 ), 10 – 23 .

Mellard , D.F. , Fall , E. , & Woods , K.L. ( 2010 ). A path analysis of reading comprehension for adults with low literacy. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 43 ( 2 ), 154 – 165.

Muse , A.E . (2005). The nature of morphological knowledge (Unpublished

doctoral dissertation) . Florida State University, Tallahassee.

Miller, G. A. (1991). The Science of Words. New York: Scientific American Library.

Morin, R. (2003). Derivational morphological analysis as a strategy for vocabulary acquisition in Spanish. The Modern Language Journal, 87, 200-221.

Nagy, W. E., & Anderson, R. C. (1984). How many words are there in printed school English? Reading Research Quarterly, 19, 304–330.

Nagy, W., Berninger, V., Abbott, R., Vaughan, K., & Vermeulen, K. (2003). Relationship of morphology and other language skills to literacy skills in at-risk second-grade readers and at-risk fourth-grade writers. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95, 730–742.

Nagy, W., Berninger, V. W., & Abbot, R. D. (2006). Contributions of morphology beyond phonology to literacy outcomes in upper-elementary and middle-school students. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98, 134–147.

Nation, I. S. P. (2001). Learning vocabulary in another language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Nurhemida,(2007). The relationship between morphological awareness and English vocabulary knowledge of Indonesian senior high school students. Unpublished master’s thesis, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Australia.

Pressley, M., Disney, L., & Anderson, K. (2007). Landmark vocabulary instructional research and the vocabulary instructional research that makes sense now. In R. K. Wagner, A. E. Muse, & K. R. Tannenbaum (Eds.), Vocabulary acquisition: Implications for reading comprehension (pp. 205–232). New York: Guilford Press.

Read, J. (2004). Research in Teaching Vocabulary. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 24, 146-161.

Samuelson, L. K., & Smith, L. B. (1998). Memory and attention make smart word learning: An alternative account of Akhtar, Carpenter and Tomasello. Child Development, 69, 94–104.

Schiff, R., & Calif, S. (2007). Role of phonological and morphological awareness in L2 oral word reading. Language Learning, 57(2), 271–298.

Schmitt, N., & McCarty, M. (1997). Vocabulary Description, Acquisition and Pedagogy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Singson, M., Mahony, D., & Mann, V. (2000). The relation between reading ability and morphological skills: Evidence from derivational suffixes. Reading and Writing: An interdisciplinary journal, 12, 219–252.

Smith, L. B. (1999). Children's noun learning: How general learning processes make specialized learning mechanisms. In B. MacWhinney (Ed.), The emergence of language, (pp. 277– 303). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Taylor , N.A. , Greenberg , D. , Laures-Gore , J. , & Wise , J. ( 2012 ). Exploring the syntactic skills of struggling adult readers. Reading and Writing, 25 (6), 1385 – 1402.

Tighe , E.L. , & Binder , K.S. ( 2013 ). An investigation of morphological awareness and processing in adults with low literacy. Applied Psycholinguistics: Advance online publication.

To , N.L. , Tighe , E.L. , & Binder , K.S . (2014). Investigating morphological

awareness and the processing of transparent and opaque words in adults with low literacy skills and in skilled readers . Journal of Research in Reading. Advance online publication.

Tong , X. , Deacon , S.H. , Kirby , J.R. , Cain , K. , & Parrila , R. ( 2011 ).

Morphological awareness: A key to understanding poor reading comprehension in English. Journal of Educational Psychology, 103 (3), 523 – 534.

Tschirner, E. (2004). Breadth of vocabulary and advanced English study: An empirical investigation. Electronic Journal of Foreign Language Teaching, 1 (1), 27-39.

Venezky, R. (1999). The American way of spelling. New York: Guilford Press.

Wysocki, K., & Jenkins, J. R. (1987). Deriving word meanings through morphological generalization. Reading Research Quarterly, 22, 66–81.

Zimmerman, K. (2005). Newly placed versus continuing students: comparing vocabulary size. TESL Reporter, 38(1), 52 - 60.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

  Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Journal of Language and Linguistic Studies
ISSN 1305-578X (Online)
Copyright © 2005-2017 by Journal of Language and Linguistic Studies