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PROJECT TOPIC- DETERMINERS AS STRUCTURAL COMPONENTS OF THE NOUN PHRASE: USES AND ABUSES BY SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN OHAUKWU LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF EBONYI STATE

PROJECT TOPIC- DETERMINERS AS STRUCTURAL COMPONENTS OF THE NOUN PHRASE: USES AND ABUSES BY SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN OHAUKWU LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF EBONYI STATE

Abstract

This study focused on the determiners as structural components of the noun phrase; uses and abuses in secondary schools in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. The main objective of the study was to investigate the determiners as structural components of the noun phrase, uses and abuses by secondary school students. Four research questions were used for the study. The study adopted a survey research design. The population of the study was 2000 students selected from ten chosen secondary schools within the area of the study. The sample of the study was 200 students randomly selected from schools in Ohaukwu L.G.A. Data collected was analyzed using mean and standard deviation. The study revealed that the determiner has been abused by secondary school students and that unqualified teachers are used in the teaching of English language. Based on the research findings, recommendations were made.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study

The noun phrase according to Ogbulogo (2004) is an important aspect of the English grammar. It starts with determiners which are placed at the beginning of those phrases. Determiners are specific or general.  Although English Language is thought to be one of the most important languages in the world. There are many reasons why English is so important. One of the reasons is that English is spoken as the first language in many countries.

There are 104 countries where English is spoken as the first language. English is the language of so many countries, more people in the world speak Mandarin Chinese as their first language (L1). Mandarin Chinese is spoken in sixteen countries even in countries where English is not the native language, people use it for business and tourism. English is used for these purposes in most countries. English is the official language of the United Nations. English is also the official language of airlines and airports. All airline pilots that fly to other counties must be able to speak English.

There are different kinds of English like British English, Canadian English, American English and Nigerian English. These are not separate languages. They are dialects. A dialect is the way people in a particular place speak their native language. In one place, people might have name they like to use for something that is not used in another place. For example; in Britain, they call the building where a motion picture is watched a cinema. In America, they call it a theater.

This is just a different way of talking about the same thing. Both of these words are correct. It is important to remember that any form of English that you learn is good. There are no better versions of English. There are only different ones. Although English language is now the language of government business and commerce education, the mass media, literature, agriculture as well as external communication there are still some issues in the way our secondary school students use the English language.

Noun phrase has determiner as its integral part with this structure NP+det+N, where NP; is noun phrase det, determiner, determiner etymologically came from a Latin word ‘determinur, meaning ‘limit or boundary’. According to Onyeka (2013) determiner is a word that comes before a noun to show what it refers. John (2007) states that determiner is a word class that determine or set the limits of a noun phrase showing whether the phrase is definite or indefinite limiting it in some other ways such as through negation.

It is a word used before or after a noun to give more information about the noun. They always precede or come after nouns or adjectives in English to show the person or things being referred to. The term embraces, several categories of words which in dictionaries and olden books are called adjectives and pronouns. Determiners are words that mark the presence of noun in a sentence that is they announces that a noun or it’s equivalent is coming.

The commonest determiners are articles (definite and indefinite), the possessive pronouns such as my, our, their, his, and such words as another, each, either, enough, some etc. According to Christopher C. and Sandrel, determiner is appropriately given to words which function as adjuncts and show their head to be noun. Moreso, determiner is any word that comes before a noun be it a pronoun or adjectives, it serves as a signal that a noun is soon to follow.

If the noun is preceded by adjective, the determiner precedes the modifier. Determiners include the following; a, an, all, least, less, many, both, no, certain, more, most, neither, next, other, own, these, the, where, few, little, every, any, even ordinal and cardinal numerals (first, second, one, two) etc. are also classified as determiners. The above words were drawn from several different words that can be use as determiners, words that have been inflectionally defined as adjectives, pronouns, quantifiers etc in our context however, they may be seen as structural words which modify our impression of nouns.

Equally, a determiner can identify a person or thing, this pen, those books, this is my brothers’ car. Onwe (2010) states that determiners are words or group of words that marks the presence of a noun. They include articles, demonstratives, quantifiers and possessive determiners. www/ determiner. Html states that the determiner class is one of the structural classes that straddle a word and its functions on the other hand, our most common determiners constitute small closed structural class at the end of the spectrum are the possessive nouns which function as determiner while retaining their membership in open class noun.

In between are the subclasses of determiners and that belong to the clossen pronoun class: demonstratives, possessives, and pronouns all function as determiners and of cause as pronouns they function as nominal’s (in fact, “pronominal” would be a more accurate label than pronoun). In the midst of all the nouns, pronouns, adjectives and articles a student is expected to learn, the determiner is often left untaught or taught incorrectly and this led to the abuse or wrong use of the determiner amongst our secondary school students. Adeogu (2001) quoting the Chinese philosopher Confucius aptly put it thus:

If the language is not correct, then what is said is not correct, if what is said is not correct or what is meant, if what is said is not what is meant, then what aught to be done remains undone. If this remains undone, words and arts detoriates…(41). Abuses could be traceable to mother tongue interference since most Nigerian languages do not have any separate morpheme for the article. Most of the times when students are made aware of the need for them to use determiners in speaking and writing of the English language, they use them redundantly or use one when another is appropriate in sentences. Because of these, it therefore become necessary to examine how the determiner function as structural component of the noun phrase, how they are abused (either omitted or wrongly applied) and show how they are to be used correctly both in speech and writing of our secondary school students.

PROJECT TOPIC- DETERMINERS AS STRUCTURAL COMPONENTS OF THE NOUN PHRASE: USES AND ABUSES BY SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN OHAUKWU LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF EBONYI STATE

Statement of the Problem

Despite the way the English grammar has been taught in our schools these days, the English grammatical structure constitute one of the various problems learners of the English language face. They encounter some hitches both in their written and oral expressions of the English grammar. Klesch and Marrylynn (2008), maintain accuracy of expression; ‘if one does not say exactly what he mean, one cannot expect the listener or reader to understand what one is trying to communicate’. This is the case with determiners, learners of the English language normally encounter some difficulties in their use of determiner and these problems include: wrong use of determiners, omission of determiners where they are compulsory, wrong ordering of determiner where more than one is required and redundant use of determiners.

The determiner as a structural component of the noun phrase: it’s uses and abuses by secondary school student both in private and public schools in Ohaukwu Local Government of Ebonyi State. This being problem, the study therefore attempt to investigate how our secondary school students use the determiner and provide the ways that determiners should be used in both writing oral expressions.

Purpose of the Study   

Determiner to speakers of the English language is as important as hoe to the farmers and as the salt to a cook. This is because the knowledge of how to apply determiners in both speech and writing exercises make for accurate and effective use without abuse of the English grammar in writing and in speech.

The main purpose of this study is to investigate the determiners as structural components of the noun phrase, its uses and abuses in secondary schools. The specific purpose of this study is to:

  1. Determine the wrong usage of determiner.
  2. Determine where determiners are to be omitted in sentences.

iii. Determine the problems learners of English language encounter in their use of determiners.

  1. Determine the causes of the problems learners of English language encounter in their use of determiners.

This research work will be limited to discovering the meaning of the determiners in English language and how they function as structural component of the noun phrases, it’s uses and abuses by secondary school students in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.

Scope of the Study

This research work will be limited to studying determiners of the English grammar to show how they function as structural components of the noun phrase and how students abuse them in secondary schools in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.

Significance of the Study

This study will be useful to students, teacher of English language, English language text book authors and educational planners.

This study will provide useful result to any effort made towards solving the problems learners of English language normally encounter in their use of determiner especially in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.

Students will be helped through the findings of this research work to know what determiner is all about and how it is used and this will enable them to enhance or improve their speech and writing exercises. To the teachers it will help them improve positively in their teaching of the determiners in our secondary schools.

This study will also be of great importance to the English language textbook authors as it will enable them do more work on determiners and its uses. Educational planners will equally benefit from the findings of this work because it will enable them restructure the curriculum to create more space for the teaching of determiners so that both students and teachers alike will make a successful and functional education in their speaking and writing skills. This work when completed will also be of a great help to future researchers who may venture into this very topic.

Research Questions

The following research questions are formulated to guide the researcher in carrying out the study.

  1. What are the ways in which students use determiners wrongly?
  2. Where should determiners be omitted in sentences?
  3. What are the problems learners of English language encounter in their use of determiners?
  4. What are the cause of the problems learners of English language encounter in their use of determiner?

PROJECT TOPIC- DETERMINERS AS STRUCTURAL COMPONENTS OF THE NOUN PHRASE: USES AND ABUSES BY SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN OHAUKWU LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF EBONYI STATE

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