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International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching

Ed. by Jordens, Peter / Roberts, Leah

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Analyzing morphology-related strategies in Spanish L2 lexical inferencing: how do suffixes matter?

Nausica Marcos Miguel
Published Online: 2018-06-26 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/iral-2016-0091


Intraword awareness, i. e., of affixes and stems, helps L2 learners in inferring the meaning of unknown words. Learners draw inferences relying on suffixes, prefixes and stems since each element can independently contribute to comprehension. This study analyzes morphology-related strategies in inferencing and focuses on the contribution of suffixes for adult L1 English-speaking learners of Spanish. Differences among suffixes (i. e., transparency, biuniqueness, explicitness of instruction, and cognateness) are taken into account. In a cross-sectional design with learners (n=209) of different proficiency levels (from 2 to 7 semesters of university study), intraword awareness was analyzed by means of two metalinguistic tasks. Participants of all proficiency levels relied on morphology-related strategies, with an increase of proficiency accompanied by an increase in strategy use. As for suffixes, instruction and cognateness mattered more than frequency in guiding students to successful inferencing. Nevertheless, knowledge of suffixes was still limited for the most advanced learners.

Keywords: Spanish L2; instructed SLA; derivational morphology; lexical inferencing; vocabulary


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Published Online: 2018-06-26

Citation Information: International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, ISSN (Online) 1613-4141, ISSN (Print) 0019-042X, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/iral-2016-0091.

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