Morphological Awareness and Its Relationship to Vocabulary Knowledge and Morphological Complexity among Omani EFL University Students

| March 28, 2010
Title
Morphological Awareness and Its Relationship to Vocabulary Knowledge and Morphological Complexity among Omani EFL University Students

Author
Badriya Al Farsi
University of Queensland
Abstract
This study examines the relationship between morphological awareness and vocabulary size in Omani EFL learners. Morphological awareness refers to the learners knowledge of morphemes and morphemic structure, allowing them to reflect and manipulate morphological structure of words (Carlisle, 1995; Carlisle & Stone, 2003), and has been shown to be an important predictor of L1 vocabulary. However, its relationship to vocabulary development in the L2 has to date received only limited attention. The main research question in the present study concerns whether greater morphological awareness will correlate with larger vocabulary size in the L2 learners studied.

Morphological awareness was measured using the Morphological Awareness Test adapted from McBride- Change et al. (2005); the test assessed both analytic and synthetic aspects of morphological knowledge. Analytic refers to breaking down complex words into smaller meanings and synthetic involves reassembling smaller meanings to make up new words. Vocabulary size was measured using a modified version of the Vocabulary Levels Test (Nation, 2001). The test was modified so that there were complex words and simple words, the complex versus simplex contrast allowing a means to assess the effect of morphological knowledge on vocabulary development.

Participants in the study were 54 Omani EFL learners enrolled in an English Intensive Program at the Ibri College of Applied Sciences, Oman. All the participants completed both tests. Descriptive statistics, reliability measures and correlation coefficients were calculated and reported. The results indicate that, the students overall morphological awareness and vocabulary size were limited, and that a relationship between the two constructs could not be established, owing to the appearance of floor effect in test scores and task difficulty.

Although no statistical relationship was established between morphological awareness and vocabulary in this study, it is premature to discount the potential importance of morphological awareness in the L2 vocabulary development, particularly for the type of learner examined in this study. Several limitations in the research method and instruments used in the study are discussed and a replication of the present study is recommended.

[private]

Download PDF

[/private]

Category: Thesis