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Title: Do morphological awareness and language status predict vocabulary knowledge?
Author: Unthiah, Adam
ISNI:       0000 0004 6499 8180
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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This study explored the within and cross-language contributions of English and French morphological awareness to English and French vocabulary in pupils learning French as a modern foreign language (MFL) in England. Approximately half of the learners were English native speakers (EL1) acquiring French as a second language whilst half were pupils with English as an Additional Language (EAL) who were acquiring at least a third language. Whilst morphological awareness has been shown to have a positive relationship with vocabulary knowledge both in the native language and in an additional language, this relationship had not been measured while controlling for important covariates. Furthermore, the relationship between morphological awareness and vocabulary knowledge in a taught foreign language at secondary school level had not been investigated. Finally, there are few empirical studies that compare the relative contributions of morphological awareness to vocabulary for EL1 and EAL speakers. Consequently, this thesis adopted a cross-sectional 2x2 between-subjects factorial design with between-participant factors of language status (EL1 vs EAL) and year group (year 8 vs year 10). The results of this study reinforced the importance of morphological awareness to native and additional language receptive vocabulary, whilst extending its importance to foreign language vocabulary for older pupils. With regard to cross-language effects, the contribution of English morphological awareness to French receptive vocabulary was replicated. Additionally, the contribution of English and French morphological awareness to English and French vocabulary were found to be similar for EL1 and EAL pupils. This suggested that morphological awareness played a similar role in vocabulary acquisition for EL1 and EAL pupils. The implications of these results were threefold. Firstly, the study suggested the usefulness of a morphology-based approach to vocabulary instruction in the MFL context for older pupils. Secondly, this study indicated the need for a new theoretical model as the basis for investigating predictions of morphological awareness to vocabulary. Lastly, it was demonstrated that EAL pupils learn similar amounts of modern foreign language vocabulary to their EL1 peers. Considering this finding, it was suggested that EAL pupils with a variety of language backgrounds may reasonably benefit from the same foreign language instruction as their EL1 peers.
Supervisor: Murphy, Victoria ; Sylva, Kathy Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available