Enhancing Second-Language Acquisition Through Morphological Awareness Tasks
Morphological awareness, or the ability to understand how words can be broken down into smaller units of meaning (roots and affixes) has emerged as a central contributor to language acquisition in general, and writing and reading comprehension development, in particular.
First-language (L1) learners begin to develop foundational morphological awareness as early as preschool and continue to hone their skills to read complex texts and accurately encode new multisyllabic lexical items through adulthood. Some of this L1 awareness is transferable to second-language learning (L2) if activated through a variety of activities (production tasks, judgment tasks, blending/segmenting tasks, and analogy tasks) that train learners to familiarize themselves with and recognize similar patterns in the L2 they are learning.
The increasing body of evidence for the importance of morphological awareness has long been available, yet it has not penetrated the second language classroom, where language analysis often remains an afterthought.
Noticing and being able to decipher word patterns is key to language learning, and second-language learners with weak morphological awareness do not fare as well as learners with some morphology training when encountering new lexical items. It is more common to process language from meaning to structure than the other way around, however recognizing structural patterns when dealing with unknown words where meaning is unavailable can also lead to comprehension, hence the importance of helping learners develop morphological awareness early in their L2 language learning experience.
This paper aims to demonstrate how morphological awareness tasks can be incorporated in L2 learning using Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky English poem and its French translation in a French as a foreign language class.
Keywords - Morphology, Morphological Awareness, Morphological Tasks, Second-Language Acquisition, English, French, Nonsense words, Jabberwocky, Le Jaseroque.