Ahmed F. Shoeib


In the past ten years, there has a research interest in morphological awareness, which refers to an individual’s ability to decode the morphemic structure of words and further analyze them. The current study is an attempt to investigate levels of awareness of EFL Saudi university students and also to discover any potential relationship between their morphological awareness and successful reading comprehension. To this end, the researcher administered a modified version of Morphological Awareness Test (McBride- Chang et al. 2008) to 35 undergraduate students at the Department of Foreign Languages at Faculty of Arts and Humanities of Al Baha University in the academic year 2016/2017. The test included the analytic and synthetic aspects of word formation rules. Instruments of the study also included an adopted version of Reading Comprehension Test for Smart Choice Learners (Oxford, 2007). Results of the study indicated that the average score of the Morpheme Identification section (the analytic aspect of morphological awareness) was the highest among the students (M= 27.11, SD= 6.20) in comparison to the synthetic aspect of morphological awareness (M= 14.66, SD= 11.91). The students noticeably scored better in the Morpheme Identification Test (88.57%) than they did in the Morphological Structure Test (57.6%). The overall mean score of the Morphological Awareness Test was 41.77 out of 68 with a considerable dispersion among the results (SD= 14.63) with overall percentage (65.71%) which indicated that the students had intermediate awareness of word formation rules. In addition, EFL students scored better in the Inflectional affixes in both the analysis section (63%, SD= 5.32) and the synthesis section (50%, SD=9.85) than they did with the Derivational affixes (59.15%, SD= 7.38 in the analysis section, 46.33%, SD=13.72  in the synthesis section). Furthermore, there is high positive correlation between total students' scores on analytical aspect section of the morphological awareness test and reading comprehension test (0.871) (0.009). There is positive correlation between students' scores on synthetic aspect section of the morphological test and reading comprehension (0.841) (0.005), but it is weaker than that of the first section of the test. The total scores of students on morphological test positively correlate with their total scores on reading comprehension test (0.869) (0.005). The present study ended up with a set of pedagogical implications and recommendations to include training on rules of word formation in EFL curriculum so as to increase their morphological awareness and to develop their successful reading comprehension endeavors. Future research themes were also recommended such as the role of morphological awareness in tracing semantic irregularities to enhance learners' understanding of different English words and to explore the relationship between morphological awareness and other language learning skills including listening and speaking.


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