The Acquisition of Derivational Suffixes by Students of English at the University of Human Development


  • Inaad Mutlib Sayer College of Languages, University of Human Development, Kurdistan Region – F.R Iraq
  • Sahima Abdulsalam College of Languages, University of Human Development, Kurdistan Region – F.R Iraq



Derivational morphology, Derivational suffixes, Second language acquisition


Derivational suffixes are essential part of the competence of any foreign language learner, especially learners of English as a foreign language since English is a derivational language. They help the learners enrich their lexical repertoire, which is necessary in both speaking and writing. The present study tested the production and comprehension of derivational suffixes by third-year and fourth-year students of English as a foreign language at the University of Human Development. The aim was to examine the students’ performance on the production and comprehension levels. Two tests were conducted on 112 students and seven one-way ANOVAs were performed to test the seven hypotheses of the study. The participants in the study were divided into two groups depending on their gender (79 females and 33 males) and into four groups depending on their proficiency level (pass, medium, good and very good). The results of the seven ANOVAs revealed that there were no significant gender differences among the students neither in the production test nor in the comprehension test. However, there were significant differences among the students according to the proficiency level in both tests. According to the frequency of the derivational suffixes, there were significant difference in the students’ performance only in the comprehension test; in the production test, the difference was insignificant. Finally, the performance of the students in the comprehension test was much better than their performance in the production test.


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