The acquisition of morphology: Learning the contribution of suffixes to the meanings of derivatives
AuthorNagy, William E.
Diakidoy, Irene-Anna N.
Anderson, Richard C.
SourceJournal of Literacy Research
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This study explored the development of students’ knowledge of the meanings of 10 common English suffixes. A test was constructed to assess students’ knowledge of the contribution of suffixes to the meanings of derivatives. Students were asked to choose which of several sentences correctly used a suffixed word. The suffixed words consisted of novel combinations of familiar stems and suffixes (e.g., butterless). Students were also tested on parallel items using familiar nonsuffixed words. The test was administered to 630 fourth-grade, seventh-grade, and high school students. Knowledge of the meanings of common English suffixes was found to undergo significant development between fourth grade and high school. Even in high school, however, there were some students who showed little knowledge of the meanings of these suffixes. The test identified students who have particular difficulties with English suffixes, and thus it has potential as a diagnostic tool. © 1993, SAGE Publications. All rights reserved.