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1.1  Background to the Study

Language is very important to human beings. If life is to be lived to the fullest, language must be acquired, taught, learnt and studied well. Because life without language in modern civilization will be disastrous since each community is formed by the activity of a language.

The ability to read and write is regarded as very important compared to the ability to speak (Stevense, 2014). Writing is regarded as the most difficult of the language skills. Without writing, the human mind or thought could hardly be read or represented (Ong, 2014).

Most English words are made up of the base word known as root which contains the heart of the meaning of the word. To expand such words, appendages (affixes) are added at either the beginning or at the end of the word. It is the process of attaching these affixes that is referred to as affixation.


The affix added at the beginning of the root is known as prefix while that at the end of a word is suffix. The root is central to the building of new words.

The present study is concerned with the role of affixation in vocabulary development. According to Hodges (1984), vocabulary is the collection of words of a language which is at the disposal of a speaker or writer. Nation (2011) introduced three reasons for the importance of vocabulary skills which are. Reading comprehension has a strong relationship with the level of vocabulary knowledge (Nourie& Davidson). Also, by vocabulary learning, learners can get more academic success in life. The role of affixation in vocabulary learning development in English.

Furthermore, Waring (2012) emphasizes the importance of constructing a reliable body of vocabulary knowledge to learn another language, linguistically and psychologically without this reliable knowledge of vocabulary, little can be learned in foreign languages.

In addition, by structuring magnificent vocabulary knowledge domain quite actively, one cannot be capable of functioning in that language completely.



Considering everything that is involved in learning a word, it is surprising that students’ vocabulary knowledge develops through a variety of ways. They learn word from others such as parent teachers and peers through contact. They also learn what through what they read, hear, see and experience in their lives through games, conversation, television, radio and many other channels which provide them conditions to acquire vocabulary.


Moreover, they learn words through their knowledge of parts of speech by using resources such as dictionaries and glossaries. With these, we see that it takes a lot of time to attain deep knowledge and there are many waysof learning words.


Also, teaching and development can be discussed as important parts of vocabulary programme and it should be taken into consideration that affixation plays a vital role in the vocabulary learning of English. These affixes include prefixes and suffixes.

One of the most popular strategies in vocabulary learning supported by many researchers is using affix knowledge, (Bauer and Nation, 2013). Therefore, to obtain a complete picture of vocabulary learning using affix knowledge, it would be desirable to observe the students’ performance in the light of their knowledge about prefixes and suffixes.

According to Scalise (2014) “an affix is a morpheme that is attached to a word to form a new word.” He states that affix is a meaningful letter or group of word parts which changes meaning when it is added to the beginning or the end of a word.

Nation (2010) opines that knowing a word means knowing a member of the family of the word and by developing proficiency, the number of the member of this family will increase in addition, research has also mentions that most researchers distinguish three main ways in which a learner’s vocabulary increase

  1. Through deliberately learning or being taught.
  2. Through learning by meeting in context.
  3. Through learning new words by gaining devices.


1.2   Statement of the Problem

The major problem with vocabulary is that, the importance of vocabulary knowledge has not been emphasized. Also, there are different strategies for dealing with vocabulary items and one of these strategies is learning vocabulary through affixes which enables students to better understand unknown words encountered in the future. So far, there has not been enough research about the role of affixes on vocabulary learning. The knowledge of words related to its meaning and clarifications is called vocabulary.


According to Stoller and Grabe (2012), the development of vocabulary is necessary for both native and nonnative learners. Kaivanpanah and Zandi (2009) explore that the first and second language cannot be comprehended without vocabulary knowledge.

Vocabulary learning is important because of same reason: first, the more vocabulary knowledge learner have, the better they can comprehend their reading assignment. Secondary, learners who have more vocabulary knowledge can achievemore academic success. Because word are tools, not only of better reading, but also of better writing, speaking, listening, and thinking as well.


Third, knowing enough vocabulary can guarantee success in life as well as academic areas (Nation, 2011).

Better comprehension takes place when learners have more vocabulary knowledge. There are different strategies for it including, guessing, inferring or direct teaching of words lotto and De Groot (2008) raised the questions which often in the field of vocabulary learning. What is the most efficient and positive strategy to learn vocabulary in a new most convenient ones to be learned in a new language?


1.3     Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study was to examine the role of affixation in vocabulary learning development in English. Specifically, the study intends to:

1        examine the extend to which vocabulary knowledge is emphasized in schools.

2        investigate how vocabulary development is thought in schools.

3        Assess the students level of understanding of words when thought vocabulary development through affixes.


1.4     Research Questions

The following research questions guided the study;

  1. To what extent is vocabulary knowledge emphasized in curriculum?
  2. How is vocabulary development taught?

3        what is the extent of students level of understanding of words when taught vocabulary development through affixes?


1.5     Significance of the Study

The findings of this study will be immense to the following:

  • Findings will contribute to the effective study and help to make students acquire the right type of values of the subject, if it is properly taught to them through affixation.
  • It will further be of great relevance to the government curriculum planners while planning to integrate appropriate strategies, teachers can also use it to teach English affixes effectively.


  • The study is equally significant to teachers because it will expose them to the needs of affixation.
  • It could serve as a reference material for both teachers and students for further research purposes. The researcher has the conviction that the discovery from this study on the role of affixation in vocabulary development in English, students, language agents, or linguist, researchers.To students the study will enhance proficiency in learning and set a foundation for future research by the topic by serving reference purposes.


1.6     Limitation of the Study

This study is limited to affixation in English. It does not cover affixes in other language. However, it focuses mainly onn the role (importance or functions) of affixation in English. It considers only prefixes and suffixes and no other forms of affixation such as infix (in the middle of the word). Affixation is a word formation process that is very broad, it cannot be discussed exhaustively hence; it is limited to prefixes and suffixes.



This study has shown the role of affixation in vocabulary development in English language in word formation process in the English Language. The list is inexhaustible. Some prefixes and suffixes are only inflections added to words to pluralize, change tense or mark comparative and superlative forms of adjective. Some others; as we have seen in the course of this study are class changing suffixes. The mastering of these affixes will lead to a good mastery of English Language.


Ikemesit Akpan is my name. I am a Nigerian author. I work with I'm a researcher and a writer of academic research.

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