Implications of Morphology in Teaching

Post date: Mar 23, 2018 12:43:21 AM

By: Mrs. Loida B. Parulan,


Since time immemorial, language has evolved to complex changes throughout the universe. Though language can be acquired formally and naturally, learners and teachers come up with the standards rules of language to be spoken in a speech community for better discourse.

Language inventors unceasingly create new words based from necessity; of industrial and technological worth, adaptable to the fast changing world.

This is the reason of the birth of morphology. What is morphology? Morphology is the study of the internal structure of the words and of the rules by which they were formed.

Every nation’s language teachers especially nowadays always have that predicament of teaching his students to speak fluently and correctly.

For this reason, the government with partnership of educators should take double/triple effort in teaching the student. Since the government is up to now searching for better curriculum that will speed up quality 2nd language acquisition, it is the teacher’s duty to exert a greater sacrifice to give his clienteles what they ought to know. Thus, the knowledge on morphology plays a vital role.

In morphology, word formation is traced. There are morphological rules to follow in using affixes. But in every rule there are exceptions. In teaching negative prefixes for example; a student must know that prefixes like im, in, on and il are morphemes exhibiting a grammatical meaning: not. The danger of this rule is for students to apply the rule of using “in” to all words to mean “not”. They would think “ingenious and insertion” as negative words where in the fact they are not. A teacher’s role is to make them realize those words are independent by themselves and “in” is not a suffix. Well, this was my common experience in high school and up to now in college. To my dismay when I ask them to give example of words having prefix “il”, and they said “illustrious”.

Word formation by derivational morphemes should be taught cautiously detailing the paper rules observed. In teaching how to make a noun adjective by adding atic, a student might give “automatic” thinking “atic” is accepted as suffix.

To make a word adjective, there’s no such root word as autom but to their conceptual views, this is possible. The prerequisite lesson for this is to discuss that there are free morphemes/root words that are independent/ have meanings already. It just happened that it starts with such letters l and ends with letters “atic”.

Although some prefixes like un is very productive, it is not always proper to use it in adjective like sad, and brave because the morphological rule doesn’t include them as to be prefixed with ‘un’. Another is “ness” which is overused or productive in most adjectives to make them nouns; like greatness. One student could say “beautifulness” associating with ugly + ness = ugliness

According to Lewis (1993), “word information is better learned when they are taught in the light of semantics, socio cultural aspect and communication structures. Thus, I may say in teaching compounding, the teacher must cite several examples of related affixes that have meanings to the student’s life. Significance is the key word to relate to semantics/meaning of the words. Are the words useful to them? Can they use them to relate with his peers and the people around them? Do the words relate to the socio-cultural aspect? A rich environment must be provided to meet this goal; an environment of naturally occurring language.

Since some words in English are synonymous in sounds as practice and practice, the two exhibit differences in category and context. The teacher must enhance the students’ vocabulary skills. In doing so, again a rich environment is advised.

It must be clearly emphasized that inflection (addition of morphemes which changes the tense, number, gender and case of a noun) is far different from word formation (derivation of word by adding prefixes/suffixes which changes the syntactic category of a word), yields variants forms of the same word without changes in syntactic category but sometimes a change in meaning. The knowledge of the distinction between the two helps students distinguish and use words accepted in the English Language. They will see the difference between transgressed and transgressor where the former is inflectional and the second derivational.

As to another kind of word formation, compounding must be taught with extra caution. There are different meanings projected by simply following the rule. Example olive oil and coconut oil are oils made from olives and coconut. But it’s different when you say baby oil. Well, the smartness of the teacher in explaining is challenged. He must explain to the L2 learner that it differs in meaning because it is interpreted as “oil meant for baby”

Learners might tend to analyze words improperly by mere following the rules in word formation. The teacher’s skills in morphology will always help him. By saying when students give wrong analyses, it is advisable to consider some wrong answers “futuristic.”

“Well, at the moment, they are not accepted but as you know language evolves; ever changing; innovative, inventive and adaptive. The words we consider unaccepted right now maybe considered in the future time. That’s the characteristic of language so as of now, let us enjoy learning it, creating something out of it, learning to resist what is not accepted and using the words of language accepted in our speech community.”