Morphological Awareness: A Qualitative Study of Indonesian College Readers of English
Febriyanti, Tridiyah Wulan
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Reading comprehension is one of the skills in learning English. Souvignier and Moklesgerami (2006) define reading comprehension as the reader’s ability to read and remember, reproduce, learn form, and find deeper meaning in text for later use (Chegeni & Tabatabei, 2014:306). In process of reading, sometimes, readers face difficulties or problems. One of the difficulties and problems is learning new vocabulary (Shehu, 2015:93). It is more challenging for Indonesian readers as EFL (English Foreign Language) learners to learning English because they might spend many years developing their vocabulary. To achieve the amount of vocabulary required to comprehend academic texts in English is thus a major to learn new vocabulary, which may be ineffective as well as impractical, considering the limited time available for direct instruction (Jiang et al., 2015:19). L2 (second laguage) learners may be able to acquire new vocabulary more efficient with enhanced morphological awareness (Kieffer & Lessaux, 2008), which may enhance their reading comprehension and support their academic studies (Jiang et al., 2015:19). Morphological awareness may play a significant role in reading comprehension in English (Curinga, 2014) because it should help readers determine more accurately and more efficiently the meanings of unknown words (Kirby et al., 2011). This research specifically focuses on derivational awareness among Indonesian college readers, who are majoring in English literature in Universitas Jember who took Academic Reading class. The participants are 22 college freshmen learners of English. They are divided into two groups, high and less proficient readers. The groupings are made based on their previous class. In this case, the participants came from A, B, and C Class. Therefore, the researcher concluded that the participants who were came from A and B class are labelled as high proficient readers. In other words, the participants who came from class C are labelled as less proficient readers. This research employs two research questions. Those are how do high and less proficient Indonesian college readers differ in their perception and application of derivational morphological awareness. This research used qualitative data to analyze the data. The data itself were collected through reading comprehension test and interviews. The study found that there were no differences between the high and less proficient readers in their perception of morphological awareness of derivational morphemes. They the high and less proficient readers viewed morphological awareness of derivational morpehemes as a great tool that can help them to infer the meaning of new or unfamiliar words. In the application, there were four strategies used by the high and less proficient readers to infer the meaning of new or unfamiliar words. Those are 1) guessing from the text/context, 2) consulting a dictionary, 3) ignoring the words, and 4) guessing from the rules of derivational morphemes. The difference between the high and less proficient readers’ application of morphological awareness of derivational morphemes is ignoring the words applied by the high proficient readers and guess from the rules of derivational morphemes applied by the less proficient readers. However, there were no significant differences between them. They the high and less proficient readers ability to apply morphological awareness of derivational morphemes to infer the meaning of the new or unfamiliar words are similar.