Learning novel words with the help of morphological information


Morphological information can affect the learning rate of new words. To test this hypothesis, we manipulated two variables: individual difference in Morphological Awareness (high vs. low MA groups) and sentential context (consistent vs. inconsistent sentences). 152 college students were asked to learn new words appearing within the contexts of a couple of sentences. The sentential contexts on some trials were semantically consistent with one of the possible morphological structures of words to be learned. The participants with higher MA were better at learning new words despite the definitions of words and morphemes were not given explicitly. Also, the words presented in morphologically consistent contexts were learned faster. More importantly, the effect of context differed among MA groups. The supportive context effect was much bigger for the participants of high MA. In conclusion, this study showed the significant effects of morphological representation and processing in learning new words.

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