Teaching English Vocabulary: The Role of Derivation Cover Image

Улога деривације у настави вокабулара енглеског језика
Teaching English Vocabulary: The Role of Derivation

Author(s): Jelena R. Danilović Jeremić
Subject(s): Foreign languages learning, Lexis
Published by: Универзитет у Нишу
Keywords: derivation; vocabulary; affixes; teaching; EFL

Summary/Abstract: Derivation represents one of the three key morphological processes, besides composition and conversion, that contribute to the lexical expansion of the contemporary English language. Owing to a variety of historical and social factors, the English derivational system is characterized by a mixture of native and foreign bases and affixes, all of which play a part in the formation of new words. Morphological and psycholinguistic research has suggested that it is precisely due to their implicit morphological knowledge, i.e. the knowledge of word structure and derivational affixes, that native speakers of English are not only able to understand lexemes which they have never encountered before but can readily create new lexical items independently. We can, therefore, conclude that morphological knowledge constitutes an essential element of an individual’s lexical knowledge. Unlike native speakers, whose lexical growth occurs spontaneously and rapidly, non-native speakers’ acquisition of lexis, in a formal EFL teaching context, is typically a painstaking and enduring process, often an unsuccessful one. For this very reason, the aim of this paper is to emphasize the importance of derivation in teaching English vocabulary. This will be achieved, first, by a detailed description of the structure of English words and the size of the learners’ vocabulary. Secondly, the connection will be established between morphological structure of words and different aspects of word knowledge, within the three-tier framework of form, structure and meaning. Moreover, given that L1 can facilitate the acquisition of a foreign language, the paper will shed light on the pedagogical potential of a growing body of English-Serbian pairs of cognate lexemes. Finally, and in order to enable English teachers to foster the development of lexical knowledge in their learners by implementing various strategies, we will provide an overview of learning activities and games which have found their way into EFL textbooks and handbooks as well as test formats of certain relevant institutions (e.g. Cambridge English Language Assessment, Cambridge Michigan Language Assessment). In conclusion, we will stress that introducing learners to the characteristic features of derivational affixes can not only broaden their lexical knowledge, both reception- and production-wise, but also promote the development of learner autonomy, which is equally important.

  • Issue Year: XLII/2018
  • Issue No: 3
  • Page Range: 801-820
  • Page Count: 20
  • Language: Serbian