2. Learning Objectives
Our learning objectives for this session are to:
Discuss how morphemes aid CLD students in their
comprehension and spelling of academic English at the
elementary and secondary levels.
Analyze the notion of words, how words contribute to
language, how words are formed, and what it means to
know a word.
Explore the morphology of effective teaching for second
3. What are morphemes?
A morpheme is the smallest unit of meaning or grammatical
A morpheme can be a root word, prefix, or suffix.
like unlike likely
Most words are more than one morpheme long, but a morpheme
is not the same as a syllable.
likable ( 3 syllables, 2 morphemes)
How many morphemes are there in the word ―unbelievable‖?
4. Free and Bound Morphemes
Soruce: What’s Diferent About Teaching Reading to Students Learning English?
Free morphemes are meaning-carrying units that can stand alone.
Bound morphemes are meaning-carrying units that CANNOT stand alone.
―-s‖ as in ―plays‖ and ―-ed‖ as in ―played’
-s un- -th
opals untie sixth
Prefixes and suffixes are bound morphemes, and some stems are also bound
introspective= three bound morphemes
prefix intro- stem -spect suffix -ive
5. Free and Bound Morphemes
Morphemes are considered to be either ―free‖ when they can
occur as separate words or ―bound‖ when they must be
attached to other words.
For example, the word ―dogs‖ consist of two morphemes: free
morpheme ―dog‖ and the bound morpheme ―s‖ that acts as a
marker of plurality.
Morphological Rule: Words fit together in certain ways/words
are built out of smaller bits by another set or rules – ―People
must have a mental rule for generating new words from old
ones‖ (Pinker, 2007)
The English noun comes in 2 forms (dog and dogs)
The English verb in 4 (bark, barks, barked, and barking)
6. Derivational Affixes (prefixes & suffixes)
Sometimes altering a free morpheme by adding or removing a
bound morpheme results in a change in the meaning of a
word/part of speech.
Ex. Adding the bound morpheme ―-er‖ to the verb ―teach‖
results in a noun. These morphemes are considered
derivational because the new word is derived from a stem
teach (verb) teacher (noun)
happy (adjective) happiness (noun)
elect (verb) election (noun)
7. Inflectional Affixes (all suffixes)
Inflectional morphemes: when added to
words, no change occurs to the part of speech
or to the meaning of the base word.
Ex: marker markers (plural)
Cindy Cindy’s (possessive)
walk walked (past tense)
10. A Useful Way to Remember Different
Types of Morphemes (Yule, 2010)
11. Morpheme Activity One
Task 1: List the bound morphemes in these
words: fearlessly, misleads, previewer, shortened, un-
Task 2: What are the inflectional morphemes
in these expressions?
(a) Have you eaten yet?
(b) Do you know how long I’ve been waiting?
(c) She is younger than me and always dresses in the latest style.
(d) We looked through my grandmother’s old photo albums.
12. Morpheme Activity One
Task 3: Work with a partner to create a new
list of words using both sets of bound
morphemes (derivational & inflectional). The
team with the most words wins!
13. Knowledge of Morphology
Morphology refers to the study of the forms of
words, including the structure of words
Allows us to understand how words are
formed in a particular language.
14. Other Languages
Analytic languages—morphemes are not
bound to one another, word order carries a lot
of importance. Almost every word is
composed of only one morpheme (e.g.,
15. Other Languages
Synthetic languages: add many inflections to
words (e.g., ―port‖ and ―portas‖ in Latin)—
word order in a sentence is not as fixed as it is
in English (F&F., p. 169)
Agglutinative languages: combine many
morphemes to make a chain of words
(Korean, Japanese)—morphemes not changed
like in English (-s or –es for plural)
16. Other Languages
Polysynthetic languages: each word can be
translated as a whole sentence. Navajo
dictionaries list morphemes, not words
because every word is made up of many
morphemes and represents a whole sentence.
Bantu languages (native African languages)
are also polysynthetic (Freeman & Freeman,
p. 170 )
17. Session Seven: Did you know?
In some languages (Japanese for example),
individual morpheme carries more case information
(i.e., S, IO, and DO) than the word order as in
English. One can switch around the order of the
words several different ways and still retain the same
meaning of the sentence (e.g., 6 different ways to
express ―X gives Y to Z‖, F&F, p. 171).
(c) 2006 CIMA (Center for Intercultural & 17
18. Why Do We Have to Study Morphology
Native speakers already have an instinctive sense of
how words/sentences are formed, but not non-native
speakers. Morphological/syntactic rules of our
students’ L1 allow us to predict their interlanguage
Allison plays the piano.
Piano plays Allison the*
Allison the piano plays*
19. English as a Hybrid Language
Many words with Latin roots, even though
English is a Germanic language.
Grammar rules such as: Do not end a sentence
with a preposition.
English words were made to fit into Latin
categories (e.g., Adjectives are defined by
what they do – modify a noun; Conjunctions
connect parts of sentences, etc.)
21. In this session, we’ll discuss
Coining, compounding, clipping/creating
acronyms, blending, & back forming
BICS, CALP, & CUP
Content & general academic vocabulary
22. A Common Vocabulary
Without terms like noun and verb, it would be
impossible to talk about the words in our
A foreign language can be acquired more
efficiently by studying the grammar of one's
own native language.
All languages and all dialects follow
All languages evolve and adopt new words.
23. How Do We Get New Words?
Think/pair/share about English words derived
from the following processes (pp. 180-182):
25. Word Formation Rules
Derivational affixes make up most of our new
These can be prefixes or suffixes.
Can you think of some examples of these words?
26. Word Formation with Derivational
Ambimopustrous: can use a mouse w/ either
Depediate: if the printer cuts off the bottom of a
(Pinker, 1994 in F&F, 2004, p. 181)
27. Morpheme Activity Two
Work with a partner to create an invented word using
known word parts. Make sure to come up with the
definition for your invented word. Example:
prehydrophobic: before one became afraid of water.
The class will try to guess what your word means!
The team that ―stumps‖ the class with their made up
word also wins!
28. Content and Function Words
Content words (N, V, Adj, & Adv) are
referred to as ―open-class‖ words. They carry
the main meaning of the sentence. They
include nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs.
Borrowed words fit into this category.
Function words are considered ―closed class‖
words. They include determiners, quantifiers,
pronouns, auxiliaries, etc. (see p. 177 in for
29. Language Processing in the Brain
Do our brains process content and function
Let’s view how Alan Alda experiences which
areas of the brain are activated when he sees
content and function words.
30. What Does It Mean to “Know” a Word?
Knowing a word includes being able to break
them down into meaningful units.
It also includes understanding its related
forms and how to use them in varied
inform – information - informant
31. Development of SLA: Morphological
Krashen’s Natural Order Hypothesis
Based on the study of morphemes by Dulay &
Burt (1974): certain morphemes are acquired
plural –s > third person singular –s (F&F p. 36)
Development of Academic vocabulary
A richer understanding of morphology leads to a
more capable educator in helping CLD students
develop academic vocabulary.
33. Cognates: Words that tend to be comprehensible across languages.
English • Spanish
absorb – absorber
author – autor
balance – balancia
civilization – civilizacion
colonial – colonial
geography – geografia
history – historia
34. Cognitive Underlying Proficiency (CUP) Why
do cognates work?
For a CLD student whose first language is not English,
concepts, skills, and linguistic knowledge learned in the first
language (L1) transfers to language acquisition AND content
learning in the second language (L2).
According to what Cummins (2000) refers to as common
underlying proficiency (CUP).
35. Teaching Academic Vocabulary:
A general academic vocabulary is key to CLD/other students.
Yet, this vocabulary is not often an emphasis of texts/teaching.
Poorly understood by students.
Cognates serve as one way to teach general academic vocabulary to
a CLD student whose first language is not English.
Words that are comprehensible across languages.
Words that prompt linguistic and concept transfer
across languages through common underlying proficiency
36. Morpheme Instruction
When coming upon new terms in text, explicitly show
students how to use the context clues and the morphological
clues to find meaning. Teach older struggling readers to
decode difficult words by modeling these steps:
Look for prefixes or suffixes in the word.
Look for a base or root word that you know.
Read to the end of the sentence. Think of a word with those affixes,
bases or roots that makes sense in the sentence.
If you still cannot figure out the word, skip it, ask someone for help,
or use the dictionary.
37. Having Fun With Words
Give the class an invented word using known word parts.
Students come up with a definition. Example:
prehydrophobic: before one became afraid of water.
Create games like Bingo or Jeopardy. Focus on roots or
affixes and their meanings, or vocabulary words and their
structure and meaning.
Have students sort word cards into categories: similar
spelling patterns, meaning patterns, same suffix, same prefix,
same root, language of origin, etc.
38. Other Teaching Tips Using Morphemes
Give half the class flashcards with a morpheme.
Give the other half cards with the corresponding
meaning. Students must find their match.
Have the class create root trees: Write the Greek
combining form or Latin root at the base. Write
related derivatives on the branches.
Have students make posters showing a key word
with each morpheme written in a different color.
Each morpheme is labeled and identified on the
poster. The word is used in a sentence and a
corresponding illustration is added.