Vietnamese EFL Learners’ Productive Derivative Knowledge: The Role of Part of Speech, Receptive Derivative Knowledge, and Derivative-Formation Strategies

Document Type : Research Article


1 Faculty of English, University of Foreign Languages and International Studies, Hue University, Hue, Vietnam

2 Faculty of English, FPT University, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

3 Hue University, Hue, Vietnam



This study examines the role of part of speech (POS) and receptive derivative knowledge (RDK) in Vietnamese EFL learners’ production of derived forms of given headwords (henceforth productive derivative knowledge (PDK). Seventy-three Vietnamese EFL university learners first performed a decontextualised productive derivative form-recall test of 90 headwords and a receptive derivative test. Twenty of these learners were also interviewed in an in-depth individual format with a view to understanding their experiences and processes of forming the target derivatives. The findings revealed that successful production rates of derivatives of different parts of speech differed significantly in favour of verb and noun derivatives than adjective and adverb counterparts and there was a strong positive correlation between PDK and RDK. Learners’ perspectives uncovered a complex process of forming derivatives that involved not only item-based and system-based mechanisms but also a wide range of other strategies and idiosyncratic trajectories of vocabulary learning/use that influenced their PDK. The implications for derivative instruction, assessment, and research are discussed.