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Volume :32 Issue : 127 2014      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

The Acquisition of Negative Morphemes by Jordanian EFL Learners (in English)

Auther : Ayman Yasin

 

This paper reports on the results of a study on the acquisition of negative morphemes (NMs) by a group of Jordanian EFL learners at the University of Jordan. Kharma and Hajjaj (1989), Al-Qadi (1992) and Soudi, Cavalli-Sforza  Jamari (2001) posited that the combination of affixes and roots to change word class in English is quite arbitrary. This study presents empirical evidence that the combination of a NM and a stem is not random: Knowledge of the phonological, morphological, and semantic constraints on NMs, language exposure and frequency of occurrence greatly affect the acquisition of derivational morphology including NMs. The data were gathered through a written task of 32 items representing NMs prefixes. The results suggest that the higher scores are characteristic of derivatives whose formation seems to obey certain phonological constraints such as assimilation.

The results also confirm that NMs with the highest scores were those that are characterized by high frequency in the Jordanian English teaching textbooks. The fact that the subjects did not find all NMs equally easy suggests that acquiring certain NMs may depend on the word root or the NM itself. The error data show that un- was the most overgeneralized prefix. Finally, since the subjects belong to two different educational levels, (1st and 4th year students), the significant difference in their performance indicates that language exposure is crucial for language acquisition (Hart  Risley, 1995 Shresta, 1998; Rott, 1999; Biemiller, 2006; Tremblay, 2006; Christ, 2007; pitt, Dilley and Tat, 2011)
Key words: morphology, language acquisition, negative morphemes

language exposure, prefixes, Arabic,

 

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