The Effect of Raising Morphological Decomposition Awareness on Lexical Knowledge of Complex English Words

نوع مقاله: مقاله پژوهشی


1 Associate Professor of the Department of English, Allameh Tabatabaeii University

2 Ph. D Candidate in Allameh Tabatabaeii University,


Lexical knowledge of complex English words is an important part of language skills and crucial for fluent language use. This study aimed to assess the role of morphological decomposition awareness as a vocabulary learning strategy on learners’ productive and receptive recall and recognition of complex English words. University students majoring English at the English department of Kerman University were randomly assigned to three groups: form-focused group which
learned the words by being morphologically decomposed to them; meaning-focused group to which the glosses were presented by being defined and used in a sentence; and a control group, rote memory, the members of which were asked to only memorize the glosses. TOEFL and VLT pretests showed comparable results among the three groups (p>o.o5). However, in post-tests the participants in the form-focused group achieved higher scores in all four aspects of lexical knowledge than the other two groups (p<0.05). Morphological decomposition strategy is recommended as a very useful strategy for learning
complex English words.


Alderson, J.C. & Banerjee, J. (2002). Language testing and assessment (Part 2). Language Teaching, 35, 79-113.

Arnaud, P. (1992). Objective lexical and grammatical characteristics of L2 written compositions and the validity of separate component tests. In: P.

Arnaud & H. Bejoint (Eds.), Vocabulary and Applied Linguistics,London: Macmillan.

Bear, D.R. Invernizzi, M., Tempelton, S., and Johnston, F. (2008). Words Their Way: Word Study for Phonics, Vocabulary, and SpellingInstruction (4th edition). Upper Saddler River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Bellomo, T. (2005). Latinate word parts and vocabulary: Contrasts among three groups comprising the community college preparatory reading class. Ph.D. dissertation; University of Central Florida.

Craik, F. I. M. & Tulving E. (1975). Depth of processing and the retention of words in episodic memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology, General,104, 268-294.

Craik, F.I.M. & Lockhart, R.S. (1972). Levels of Processing: a framework for memory research. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 11, 671-684

Kuo, L.J. & Anderson, R. C. (2006). Morphological awareness and learning to read: A cross-language perspective. Educational Psychologist, 41(3), 161–180.

Laufer, B. & Goldstain, Z. (2004). Testing vocabulary knowledge: size, strength and computer adaptiveness. Language Learning, 54, 399-436.

Laufer, B. & Hulstijn, J. H. (2001). Incidental vocabulary acquisition in a second language: The construct of task-induced involvement. Applied Linguistics, 22, 1-26.

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

Laufer, B. (1998). The development of passive and active vocabulary in a second language: same or different? Applied Linguistics, 19(2), 255-271.

Laufer, B. & Paribakht, T. S. (1998). Relationship between passive and active vocabularies: Effects of language learning context. Language Learning, 48, 365-391.

Laufer, B. & Nation, P. (1995). Vocabulary size and use: Lexical richness in L2 written production. Applied Linguistics, 16(3), 307-322.

Meara, P. (1990). A note on passive vocabulary. Second Language Research, 6, 150-154.

Meara, P. & Buxton, P. (1987). An alternative to multiple choice vocabulary tests. Language Testing, 4, 142-151.

Nation., I.S.P. (2001). Learning Vocabulary in Another Language. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press.

Nation, I.S.P. (1993.) Vocabulary size, growth and use. In: Schreuder, R. & Weltens, B. (Eds.). The Bilingual Lexicon (115-134). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Nation, I. S. P. (1983). Testing and teaching vocabulary. Guidelines, 5, 12- 25.

Nielsen, B. (2006). A Review of Research into Vocabulary Learning and Acquisition. Retrieved from:

Nurhemida, F. (2007). The relationship between morphological awareness and English vocabulary knowledge of Indonesian senior high school students. MA thesis, University of Queensland.

O’Malley, J. M., & Chamot, A. U. (1990). Learning Strategies in Second Language Acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Oxford, R. L. & Scarcella, R.C. (1994). Second language vocabulary learning among adults: State of the art in vocabulary instruction. System, 22(2), 231-43.

Oxford. R.L. (1990). Language Learning Strategies: What every Teacher should Know. New York: Newbury House.

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

Read, J. (1993). The development of a new measure of L2 vocabulary knowledge. Language Testing, 10, 355-371.

Schmitt, N. Schmitt, D. & Clapham, C. (2001). Developing and exploring the behavior of two new versions of the Vocabulary Levels Test. Language Testing, 18, 55-88.

Schmitt, N. (1999). The relationship between TOEFL vocabulary items and meaning, association, collocation and word-class knowledge. Language Testing, 16, 189-216.

Schmitt, N. (1997). Vocabulary learning strategies. In: Schmitt, N., and McCarty, M. (Eds.). Vocabulary: Description, Acquisition and Pedagogy, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Takala, S. (1984). Evaluation of students’ knowledge of English vocabulary in Finnish comprehensive school (Rep. No. 350). Jyvaskyla, Finland: Institute of Educational Research.

Treiman, R. and Casar, M. (1996). Effects of morphology on children’s spelling of final consonant clusters. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 63, 141-170.

Waring, R. (1997). A comparison of the receptive and productive vocabulary sizes of some second language learners. Immaculata (Notre Dame Seishin University, Okayama), 1, 53-68.

Wesche, M. & Paribakht, T. S. (1996). Assessing second language vocabulary knowledge: Depth versus breadth. Canadian Modern Language Review, 53, 13-40.

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