Examining the Morphological Processing of Inflected and Derived words by Students in Grades 7, 8, and 9


Br. Andrew Gonzalez FSC College of Education


Dept of English and Applied Linguistics

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Asian EFL Journal





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© 2019 Asian E F L Journal Press. All rights reserved. Morphological processing of inflected and derived words tends to vary by age as studies have reported that preschool children begin to produce inflected words spontaneously in their speech earlier than derived words (Brown, 1973; de Villiers & de Villiers, 1973). Conversely, knowledge of derived forms occurs in late childhood and are continuously learned even beyond adolescence. This study follows Deacon, Campbell, Tamming, and Kirby’s (2010) attempt to establish a direct comparison of relational knowledge of inflected and derived forms through priming method. Specifically, it focuses on ESL children whose native language is Kinaray-a – a language widely spoken in Antique Province in the central part of the Philippines. The experiment involved 90 students from Grades 7, 8, and 9 in a public high school. They were presented four types of priming conditions – root forms, inflected, derived and orthographic control items (e.g., form, formed, forming, and format) then followed by a fragment completion task (e.g., f o _ _). The results showed that the participants were able to complete the fragment with the target word (e.g., form for f o _ _). Analysis of the mean accuracy and priming effect revealed that identity/root form had the highest score and the greatest priming effect was followed by the inflected and the derived forms. Moreover, no statistically significant difference was found between inflectionally and derivationally suffixed words as they are both equally effective in eliciting the target words. Finally, priming effects were greater for the inflected and derived forms than for the orthographic control, and they were also found to be consistent by and across grades.


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