Morphology comprises the categories inflection (e.g. plurals: a rabbit -> two rabbits), derivation (e.g. noun formation: (to) drive à a driver) and compounding (e.g. composition: hand + ball à handball). International studies have shown that the ability to recognize, reflect on and change such morphological structures, is related to reading and spelling skills in both schoolchildren and adults (Haase, 2021; Lee, 2011; Metsala, Parrila, Conrad, & Deacon, 2019; Ruan, Georgiou, Song, Li, & Shu, 2018). Yet, evidence on the relative importance of different facets of morphological awareness is still missing. German is a language predestined for research into facets of morphological awareness because not only all three categories play a distinct role in German morphology but also German morphology is particularly rich (e.g. the German plural system; see König & Gast 2012), a circumstance allowing us to measure morphological awareness with a range of different items.

In Morph.B., we investigate the relationship between different facets of morphological awareness and both reading and spelling skills with a special focus on two aspects. First, we want to find out whether relationships change with increasing literacy proficiency. Second, we want to find out whether relationships are different in specific groups such as children with dyslexia or bilingual children.

With this research project, we want to contribute to a better understanding of the relationship between cognitive skills and literacy competencies. We specifically focus on special groups such as children with dyslexia and bilingual children to improve our knowledge on processes around their literacy acquisition. This in turn is a prerequisite to plan effective teaching units and interventions.




Haase, A. H. K. (2021). The Relationship between Morphological Awareness and Literacy Skills in German (Dissertation). University of Erfurt, Erfurt. Retrieved from

König, E., & Gast, V. (2012). Understanding English-German contrasts (3rd ed.). Grundlagen der Anglistik und Amerikanistik: Vol. 29. Berlin: E. Schmidt.

Lee, S. (2011). The relationship between morphological awareness and literacy outcomes of elementary students: A meta-analysis study (Dissertation). University of Oregon, Eugene.

Metsala, J. L., Parrila, R., Conrad, N. J., & Deacon, S. H. (2019). Morphological awareness and reading achievement in university students. Applied Psycholinguistics, 40(03), 743–763.

Ruan, Y., Georgiou, G. K., Song, S., Li, Y., & Shu, H. (2018). Does writing system influence the associations between phonological awareness, morphological awareness, and reading? A meta-analysis. Journal of Educational Psychology, 110(2), 180–202.