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PROJECT TOPIC- ANALYSIS OF STUDENTS COMMON ERRORS IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS, A CASE STUDY OF NDOKWA WEST LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA DELTA STATE

PROJECT TOPIC- ANALYSIS OF STUDENTS COMMON ERRORS IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS, A CASE STUDY OF NDOKWA WEST LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA DELTA STATE

ABSTRACT

The place of English Language in the life of the average secondary schools student cannot be over emphasized. The reason is that students write what they speak and what they write determine their overall performance in the English language usage. Regrettably, the usage of English Language by students continued to be erroneous. It is worthy to note that, different scholars lay the blame on interference of the mother and different areas. While some consider the different factors responsible for these errors as phonological incompetence, transfer of learning and grammatical interference. Thus study therefore, investigates and analyses the student common errors in English language in secondary schools, in Ndokwa West Local Government Area of Delta State. The study also tried to provide some suggestions which if implemented would help a lot to improve the situation. Data were collected using a set of questionnaire which items covered research questions distributed to 100 respondents made up of English students. The data            collected were analyzed and the scores determined. The result of the analysis indicated that: The interference of mother tongue, the student background, lack of teaching aids are contributing factors to student ungrammatical sentences in English language. In the light of the findings, some recommendations were made.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

So long as human activity and human thinking can not operate in a vacuum, that is the easy flow of human interaction will not be fully operational without language, it becomes necessary to see language as not only instrument of communication among the members of a speech community who are members of the same culture and convey the meaning current in that particular culture.

But to see language as more than native speakers think it. Lado (1977) examines language as”… A complex system of communication with various levels of complexity involving intricate selection and ordering of meanings, sounds and larger units and arrangements. He further opined that ‘language differs from each other in such ways that members of one speech community usually do not understand the speakers of other speech communities.

Language differs from each other, accepted as a normal state of affairs, and when the speakers of one community wishes to communicate with those of another they usually study their language or find some one who know it. Lado (1977). King (1985) rightly observed, “language plays a role in the way people learn about their social and physical environment, represent and shape these experiences and conceptualize to their personal feelings and attitudes”.

According to Stephen (1998), “for language to be maximally useful, the teacher must have a clear view of the function the language he is dealing with is meant to serve in the linguistic community”. This is in line with the known fact that a person’s mother tongue is a compendium of what society regards as important, and language provides the means by which he or she can study and understand the values and concerns of society.

Precisely, the importance of English language in Nigeria can not be overstressed. As a second language is viewed in this context as a language selected by a bilingual or multilingual country to serve as a common medium of communications among Nigerians who are associated with myriad of about 400 languages groups.

English in Nigeria serves a number of purposes: accommodation, participation and social mobility. The very continued use of English as a lingua Franca could be seen as a sort of accommodation as much as it is one of political necessity. It helps to reduce the fear of ethnic domination and it paves the way for participation at the national and international level.

English is made to function in the service of linguistic accommodation in those situation the participant in the communication do not share a common indigenous language. Accommodation exists also at a number of different kinds of levels of language use and in a variety of circumstances.  In Nigeria, our early contact with different European nations before and during the colonial times has brought about this language accommodation.

This contact has given rise to a number of different activities out of which have emerged Pidgin English, standard English and use of English for writing different kinds of English by Nigerians. The constituent assembly 1978 took the decision that English will continue to be the “only acceptable language in the country’s legislative house” so, today as in the past in Nigeria those who wish to participate fully in the

social, political and economic life of the country must “know “ English. Proficiency in English, then, is the prerequisite for admission to parliament, to the bench and bar, to the civil service, to essential services, and too many positions in the industrial and manufacturing sectors of the country. The function of English therefore, has been one of providing some Nigerians with lucrative jobs, access to European

literature and culture, opportunity to study abroad, and the entire social and material pre-requisite that go with these. We need to have our voices heard. The only voice with which language is heard abroad is the English speaking voice. It is obvious that a good speaker enjoys a prestigious position in the society. No wonder Emmanuel Kant (1724-1801) left us with the conviction that “man can become man only through education”.

Locke (1975) maintained that, “Languages are to be acquired through use and interest in learning.” The underlying competence to be achieved by all speakers. If they are to be considered as truly knowing a language, point to the acquisition of fully internalized set of  ‘ rules” of great flexibility which forms the basis of the speakers master of the language.

As a language of instruction, it is very vital to achieve competence, since a deficiency in it will hinder a student’s success in other subjects. In as much as we have identified some of the uses of English Language, it will be paramount to recognize the pressure of certain difficulties. Coder (1967) maintained that “errors exhibited by learners in second and third languages are not solely as a result of interference from the native language.

Rather, they could arise from the target language itself”. Students are prone to committing errors as they encounter certain difficulties in trying to achieve the target language. Omojuwa (1979) was of the view that “errors are bound to occur in language in one form or the other, even though emphasis led on preventing them from occurring”.

This is in harmony with the saying that “it is just as unrealistic to reckon on language learning without errors as to reckon existence without sin”. According to Bloom (1979) “Error is a systematic deviation from the target language by the non-native speakers”. Their errors are not the same thing as mistakes, slips of the tongue, overnight in writing etc.

As regards these magnitudes of problem existing in second language learning, this study is geared towards the identification of difficulties and respective factors responsible for the occurrence of the errors. Attempt will as well be made to proffer remedies to this problem.

The Problem of the Study

English language, a subject in secondary schools has suffered some difficulties for the past decades in Nigeria. These difficulties seemed to focus on the phonological incompetence, wrong use of words and phrases. A further element of considerable importance lies in the interference of mother tongue (transliteration) Misuse of punctuation marks, irregularity of verbs this leading to realization of errors by the students.

With regard to the above, the study will try to analysis some of students’ common errors in English. The study will also trace their source of occurrence as relevant suggestions for remedies of the perceived problem would be provided.

PROJECT TOPIC- ANALYSIS OF STUDENTS COMMON ERRORS IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS, A CASE STUDY OF NDOKWA WEST LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA DELTA STATE

The Purpose of the Study

This study is to identify the common errors made by students in secondary schools in English language, it will also identify the various factors responsible for the departure are make necessary recommendations that may improve the students’ performance in English language.

1.4: Significance of the Study

The significance of carrying out the research on the common errors in English made by students in secondary schools is not only to maintain standard but to avoid division and embarrassment in the class as well as out side the class when the errors are made. As already stated, these errors are as a result of phonological incompetence, grammatical interference as well as mother tongue interference  or some other related factors.

In view of these, students perform poorly in schools. There is every need to find out more of these shortcomings as to improve in the general performance in English language as a subject and other academic activities. The problem is not peculiar to Delta State, hence, it becomes absolutely necessary for other Nigerian schools to take a cue from the suggested guidelines as to bring about standard among English language students.

Research Questions

  1. What type of errors come from interference?
  2. What factors are responsible for these errors?
  3. What effect do these errors have on English language usage?

1.6: Definition of Terms

  1. Error: “This is a systematic deviation from the target language by a non-native speaker” Ebo Ubahakwe.
  2. Transfers of learning: Is the effect of a preceding activity upon the learning of a given task.
  3. Phonology: From the Greek Combining forms phono-sounds voice and logy-study. The study of sound patterns in languages.
  4. Competence: The distinction between a person’s knowledge of language (competence) and use of it (performance) Tom Mc Artur.
  5. Vowel sounds: Phonetically a vowel is speech sound characterized by voicing (the vibration) of the larynx) and by absence of obstruction or audible friction in the vocal tract, allowing the breath free passage.
  6. Grammar: A set of rules and examples dealing with syntax (meaning) and morphology (word formation) of a standard language, usually intended as an aid to the learning and teaching of that language.
  7. Comma: is a punctuation mark which has many uses and is highly flexible. Essentially it gives details to sentence and helps clarify their meaning.
  8. Consonants: It is a speech sound and also a letter of the alphabet that represent such sound. It is described in phonetics in terms of “the state of glottis whether voiced or not, place of articulation and manner of articulation (how the sound is produced).
  9. Interference: The effect of one language on another, producing instances of deviation forms the norms of either language. It occurs naturally in the speech of bilingual and multi-lingual people and the efforts of learners of foreign languages.

PROJECT TOPIC- ANALYSIS OF STUDENTS COMMON ERRORS IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS, A CASE STUDY OF NDOKWA WEST LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA DELTA STATE

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