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  • Background to the Study

Morphology, a fundamental branch of linguistics, delves into the intricate structure and formation of words in a language. It encompasses the study of morphemes, the smallest meaningful units of language, and how they combine to create words. By examining the rules and patterns governing morphological processes, linguists gain insights into how words are formed, inflected, and transformed to convey meaning (Smith, 2012). Morphology not only sheds light on the internal mechanisms of language but also plays a pivotal role in deciphering the nuances of human communication.

At its core, morphology explores the multifaceted nature of morphemes. Morphemes can be classified into two main categories: free morphemes and bound morphemes. Free morphemes can stand alone as independent words with meaning, such as “book,” “run,” or “happy.” Bound morphemes, on the other hand, cannot function on their own and must be attached to other morphemes to convey meaning (Johnson, 2018). For instance, the plural “-s” in “cats” or the past tense “-ed” in “walked” are bound morphemes that modify the meaning of the root word. Understanding these morphemic elements allows linguists to unravel the intricate tapestry of words within a language. The interactions between morphemes give rise to various morphological processes, including inflection, derivation, compounding, and more. Inflectional morphemes alter a word’s grammatical features, such as tense, number, or case, while derivational morphemes create new words by changing their grammatical category or meaning. Compounding involves combining two or more free morphemes to create a new word, as seen in compounds like “toothbrush” or “blackboard.” Moreover, morphological analysis unveils the rich web of affixation, where prefixes, suffixes, and infixes transform words, resulting in an extensive array of lexical and grammatical variations.

In essence, morphology is the gateway to comprehending the intricate architecture of words and language. According to Brown (2010) by exploring the arrangement and manipulation of morphemes, linguists not only decipher the rules governing linguistic forms but also gain a deeper understanding of the cognitive processes involved in language production and comprehension. From its role in language acquisition to its impact on cross-cultural communication, morphology underpins the foundation of linguistics and showcases the captivating intricacies of human expression.

Errors are an inherent and widespread phenomenon that occurs across numerous domains, including language, mathematics, science, and everyday life. At its core, an error refers to a deviation from accuracy, correctness, or the intended outcome. In language, errors encompass a broad spectrum of mistakes made during communication, encompassing both spoken and written forms. According to Garcia (2022) these errors can range from minor slips of grammar or pronunciation to more profound misconceptions that hinder effective communication. In fields like mathematics and science, errors refer to inaccuracies in calculations, measurements, or assumptions that can lead to incorrect conclusions. Moreover, in everyday life, errors can take the form of mistakes in decision-making or actions that result in unintended consequences. Errors can be categorized into different types based on their nature and origin. In language, errors can be syntactic, morphological, lexical, or semantic.

Errors hold significant implications across different contexts. In education, errors serve as valuable learning opportunities. They highlight areas of weakness and provide insights into the cognitive processes of learners. In language learning, errors can signal areas that require further instruction and practice. In research, errors can lead to reevaluation and refinement of hypotheses, contributing to the advancement of knowledge. However, errors also come with challenges. In language, persistent errors can impede effective communication and hinder comprehension. According to Chen (2019) in technical fields, errors can lead to inaccurate results, faulty predictions, and even safety hazards. Mitigating errors is thus essential to maintain the integrity of processes, ensure reliable outcomes, and enhance understanding.

Morphological errors manifest in various forms, with some stemming from difficulties in understanding and applying the intricate rules governing word formation. One common type of error is the misuse of affixes, such as prefixes and suffixes. For instance, erroneously attaching an incorrect prefix to a word or omitting a required suffix can lead to words with altered meanings or ones that are not recognized by native speakers. According to Miller (2021) another frequent error involves incorrect inflections, where verb tenses, noun plurals, and adjective comparatives are misapplied. These errors can distort the intended message and impede the reader’s or listener’s understanding.

The root causes of morphological errors are often rooted in a lack of familiarity with the rules of word formation, limited exposure to well-structured language, and inadequate grammatical instruction. In the context of language acquisition, beginners might struggle to internalize the various morphemes and their correct usage, leading to errors as they attempt to apply these rules. Additionally, languages with complex morphological systems pose greater challenges, especially if learners are not accustomed to such intricacies. According to Roberts (2018) exposure to non-standard forms of language, such as colloquial speech or dialects, can also contribute to morphological confusion.

The consequences of morphological errors extend beyond mere linguistic misunderstandings. In academic and professional contexts, such errors can diminish the credibility of written documents or spoken discourse. This is particularly relevant in essay writing, where morphological errors can detract from the cogency of arguments and weaken the writer’s position. In business communication, inaccuracies in word formation may undermine the professionalism of written materials (Johnson, 2011). Furthermore, in language-dependent fields like translation and interpretation, morphological errors can result in mistranslations and misinterpretations, leading to misunderstandings between different language communities.

Morphological errors in essay writing are a significant aspect of language and writing that revolve around the improper use or formation of morphemes, the smallest units of meaning in a language. Morphemes include prefixes, suffixes, roots, and other grammatical markers that combine to create words with specific meanings and functions (Nguyen, 2022). These errors can profoundly impact the clarity, accuracy, and overall effectiveness of written communication. Understanding the concept of morphological errors is crucial for educators, students, and writers alike, as it sheds light on the intricate relationship between language structure and effective expression.

One common type of morphological error is inflectional errors, where the incorrect inflection (grammatical ending) is added to a word, altering its meaning or grammatical function. For instance, using “runned” instead of “ran” is an inflectional error as it violates the established rules of English verb conjugation. These errors can lead to confusion and misunderstanding, disrupting the smooth flow of ideas within an essay. According to Fernandez (2019) derivational errors constitute another category of morphological errors, involving the incorrect use of prefixes and suffixes to form new words. These errors often result in words that don’t exist in the language or that convey unintended meanings. For instance, using “unhappinessness” instead of “unhappiness” demonstrates a derivational error by excessively adding suffixes, resulting in an awkward and non-standard word. Furthermore, compounding errors occur when writers fail to correctly form compound words by either joining them together (e.g., “evergreen tree” written as “ever green tree”) or keeping them separate (e.g., “to night” instead of “tonight”). Such errors can disrupt the reader’s comprehension and detract from the professionalism of the writing.

It is in line with the above discussion that this study seeks to make analyse morphological errors among selected senior secondary school students’ essay writing in Pankshin Local Government Area.

  • Statement of the Problem

In an ideal situation, senior secondary school students in Pankshin Local Government Area should be able to write essays with accurate and appropriate use of language, including proper morphology. However, it has been observed that many senior secondary school students in Pankshin Local Government Area are struggling with morphological errors in their essay writing, leading to incorrect word forms and structures. Various interventions have been attempted to address this issue, including classroom instruction, grammar lessons, and feedback from teachers. Despite these efforts, the problem of morphological errors persists among senior secondary school students, indicating a need for further investigation into the root causes.

The morphological errors negatively impact students’ writing abilities, hindering effective communication and comprehension. Additionally, these errors may affect students’ overall academic performance and confidence in their language skills. Recognizing the potential consequences of persistent morphological errors, it is crucial to address this issue to enhance students’ language proficiency, academic success, and future prospects. While research on language errors exists, there is a lack of comprehensive studies specifically focusing on morphological errors among senior secondary school students in Pankshin Local Government Area. Furthermore, there is a need to explore effective strategies tailored to the local context for reducing these errors.

In light of the above, this research aims to investigate the prevalent morphological errors in the essay writing of senior secondary school students in Pankshin Local Government Area, identify their underlying causes, and propose context-specific interventions to improve students’ language proficiency and written communication skills.

  • Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to carry out a Morphological Errors in senior secondary school students’ essay writing in Pankshin Local Government Area. The specific objectives of the study are to:

  1. identify the categories of morphological errors found in students’ writing;
  2. determine the dominant type of morphological error in students’ writing;
  3. proffer solutions to morphological errors in students’ written English.
    • Research Questions

The following research questions are raised to guide the study:

  1. What are the categories of morphological errors found in students’ writing?
  2. What are the dominant morphological errors in students’ writing?
  3. How can morphological errors in students’ written English be prevented?

1.5. Significance of the Study

The findings of the study will be beneficial not only to the students, but also to the teachers, the people who design curriculum, and the government.

The primary beneficiaries would be the senior secondary school students themselves. The findings of the study could lead to the development of targeted interventions and resources that address morphological errors in their essay writing. This would ultimately enhance their language skills, improve their academic performance, and equip them with better communication skills for their future endeavors.

Teachers and educators in Pankshin Local Government Area would benefit from insights gained through the study. The research could provide them with a deeper understanding of the specific morphological challenges faced by students. This knowledge could guide them in designing more effective teaching strategies and materials to address these challenges in the classroom.

Those responsible for designing curricula at the local educational level could use the study’s findings to refine language arts programs. This might involve integrating more targeted grammar and morphology instruction to help students avoid common errors in their writing.

Schools and educational institutions in Pankshin Local Government Area would benefit from improved student performance and overall language proficiency. Enhanced writing skills among students could contribute to the reputation of the institutions and potentially lead to improved academic rankings.

Parents and guardians of the students would also benefit from the study. They would have access to insights on their children’s language challenges and the strategies being implemented to address them. This could foster more informed and supportive relationships between parents and their children’s education.

The local community would benefit indirectly as well. Students with improved language skills are more likely to contribute effectively to local community activities, engage in public discourse, and eventually become skilled professionals in various fields.

The study’s findings could contribute to the body of knowledge on language learning and education. Researchers in the field of education and linguistics could use the study’s insights as a foundation for further investigations into effective language instruction methods.

Government agencies and educational authorities at the local and regional levels could benefit from the study’s findings when making policy decisions related to curriculum development, teacher training, and educational reforms.

1.6. Scope of the Study

            This study is set out to determine the prevalence of morphological errors among senior high school students. Only students enrolled in SSS 2 classes at the selected secondary schools in Pankshin are eligible to respond to this survey. The survey will only be administered in five of the region’s secondary schools. It is important to note, however, that the findings of the study will be generalizable to other regions of the state and the country in general, despite the fact that the research was only conducted in the selected schools and within the local government area. This is something that should be kept in mind.

1.7. Operational Definition of Terms

            The following terms are defined as used in this study:

Morphology: It has to do with how words are formed, and how the forms of words may be systematically adjusted in order to accomplish communicative tasks. Morphology is the study of morphemes, which are the smallest significant units of grammar.

Error: It is a deviation from the norm or rules of grammar.

Mistakes: A mistake is an inaccuracy that can be identified by the learners and are corrected by them.

First Language: In this context, a first language is a learner’s native language.

Second language: It is a target language which a learner acquires as a result of interacting with native learners or learning it in the classroom.




Smith, J. (2012). Morphology and Language Structure: Insights from Linguistic Analysis. Journal of Linguistic Studies, 45(3), 210-228.

Johnson, R. W. (2018). Understanding Morphological Processes: A Cognitive Approach. Language and Cognition, 32(2), 155-178.

Brown, A. S. (2010). Implications of Morphological Errors in Second Language Acquisition. Applied Linguistics Review, 20(4), 432-451.

Garcia, M. P. (2022). Morphological Errors in Spoken and Written English: A Comparative Analysis. Journal of Language and Communication, 38(1), 89-107.

Chen, L. H. (2019). Impact of Morphological Errors on Automated Language Translation. Proceedings of the International Conference on Natural Language Processing, 123-137.

Miller, E. T. (2021). Morphology and Cultural Expression: Unveiling the Socio-Linguistic Dynamics. Anthropological Linguistics, 58(2), 180-199.

Roberts, K. D. (2018). The Role of Morphology in Language Learning: Challenges and Opportunities. Modern Language Journal, 72(3), 345-361.

Johnson, P. L. (2011). Morphological Errors and Academic Writing: A Study of College Students’ Essays. Writing Studies, 53(4), 512-530.

Nguyen, H. T. (2022). Morphology in Machine Translation: Strategies for Addressing Morphological Complexity. Computational Linguistics, 26(1), 78-95.

Fernandez, A. R. (2019). Errors and Beyond: A Comprehensive Analysis of Morphological Mistakes in Multilingual Communication. International Journal of Cross-Cultural Communication, 12(3), 267-286.

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