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Marcos Miguel, Nausica (2013) ANALYZING ISTRUCTION AND LEARNING OF DERIVATIONAL MORHOLOGY IN THE SPANISH FOREIGN LANGUAGE CLASSROOM. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Morphological awareness can help learners of a second language (L2) infer and learn the meaning of unknown words. It is, however, unclear how morphological awareness evolves in adult English-speaking learners of instructed L2 Spanish and how this development relates to vocabulary knowledge. Moreover, the manner in which derivational morphology is instructed is unknown. This dissertation examines these aspects within four studies.
Study 1 explores the development of morphological awareness for English-speaking learners of instructed Spanish L2 (n=209) and whether development depends on vocabulary size or other factors, such as proficiency. The results suggest that proficiency is the main predictor of morphological awareness. When morphological awareness was receptively measured, i.e., learners analyzed and identified derivational suffixes, higher levels of awareness were reached even at the lowest proficiency level. When it was productively measured, i.e., learners analyzed, identified, and manipulated derivational suffixes, mastery was only achieved by the most advanced learners. Thus, a partial awareness of morphology precedes a more complete awareness. Moreover, the number of derivational suffixes that these L2 learners manipulated was limited.
Study 2 also surveys morphological awareness by making the participants of Study 1 infer the meaning and structure of unknown words. The findings suggest that though all learners rely on derivational morphology but advanced learners deploy morphological awareness the most.
Study 3 examines the implicit knowledge of derivational morphology, specifically distributional and semantic knowledge, from the participants of Study 1 and 2. In a timed Lexical Decision Task, learners accurately distinguished violations from non-violations, i.e., learners were aware of distributional and semantic constraints. Learners’ reactions were also dependent on the suffix of the word, which suggests that every suffix can be independently learned and stored. These learners, however, did not show RTs that decreased with proficiency, which suggests they have yet to automatize derivational knowledge.
Study 4 uses Borg’s framework (2003) to investigate classroom practices and teachers’ beliefs about derivational morphology for five Spanish instructors at a large university. The classroom observations reveal that derivational teaching is mostly unplanned, incidental, scarce, and, on occasion, ambiguous. Neither textbooks nor teaching training emphasize the teaching of derivational morphology.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Marcos Miguel,
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairJuffs, Alanjuffs@pitt.eduJUFFS
Committee MemberKoda,
Committee MemberMortensen, Daviddrm31@pitt.eduDRM31
Committee MemberOrtega-Llebaria, Martamao61@pitt.eduMAO61
Date: 30 September 2013
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 20 May 2013
Approval Date: 30 September 2013
Submission Date: 21 July 2013
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 219
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Hispanic Linguistics
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: morphological awareness, Spanish, derivational morphology, teacher cognition, vocabulary, instructed SLA
Date Deposited: 30 Sep 2013 12:57
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:14


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