This study was designed to find out some phonological problems secondary school students encounter in English. The study adopted a descriptive survey research design approach in which three questions were posed. The population of the study consisted of 13,605 from ten (10) secondary schools out of which five (5) schools were randomly selected for the study. From the five schools, random sampling was also used to select 160 students. The data was analyzed using mean score. Questionnaires of four- point ranting scale was used as an instrument for data collection. Data collected were analyzed using simple statics frequency distribution mean. The result showed that mother tongue impinges on pronunciation in English, incompetence of teacher influence pronunciation, and family background influence learners pronunciation in the study of English among secondary school students in Enugu East Local Government Area of Enugu State. Based on the findings of the study, the following recommendations were made: teachers should drill students on phonetics; teachers should endeavour to check students’ pronunciation and give compression or essay to students to read out in class; parents should encourage their children to listen to news; teachers should also endeavour to use stress pattern; and government should provide adequate facility for teaching phonetics for both students and teachers.


Title page i

Approval Page ii

Dedication iii

Acknowledgements iv

List of tables v

Abstract vii

Tables of Contents viii

Chapter One: Introduction 1

Background of the study 1

Statement of the problem 2

Purpose of the study 2

Research questions 3

Significance of the study 3

Scope of the study 4

Chapter Two: Review of related literature 5

Introduction 5

Conceptual framework 6

Theoretical framework 19

Empirical studies 21

Summary of literature review 23

Chapter Three: Research Method 24

Design of the study 24

Area of the study 24

Population of the study 24

Sample size and sample technique 24

Instrument for data collection 25

Reliability of instrument 25

Validation of instrument 25

Method of data collection 26

Method of data analysis 26

Chapter Four: Data Presentation and Analysis 28

Introduction 28

Chapter Five: Discuss, Conclusion, Implication of the study and Recommendations 34

Discussion of findings 34

Conclusion 36

Implication of the study 37

Recommendations 38

Limitation of the study 38

References 40

Appendix 41

Questionnaire 42


Background of the Study

Any means of meaningful communication among humans is known as language. It is a very important means of communication which is key in every society. One cannot think of a society without language because it is a very important means of communication.  Language sharpens people's thoughts, guides and controls their entire activity. "It is a carrier of civilization and culture" (Bolinger, 2011). In the case of the mother tongue, the child learns it easily due to a favorable linguistic environment and high level of exposure to the language. According to Bose (2010), "learning a second language requires conscious efforts to learn it and the exposure to the second language in most cases is limited."  It is argued that, "A Majority of the students have favored classroom instruction for the second language acquisition" (James, 2012). 

There are so many factors that affect the process of learning a second language: "attitude, self-confidence, motivation, duration of exposure to the language, classroom conditions, environment, mother tongue interference, family background, and availability of competent teachers"(Verghese, 2011).

"The successful acquisition of a second language seems to some extent, contingent upon learners' views of the language learning environment, the learning situation, and how they view the target language and its speakers" (Narayanan et al., 2013). Like the environment and attitude, teacher's competence is also a variable factor that affects the second language learning. In other words, what affects the second language is the environment where the learners finds himself, the knowledge the teacher has in the language and the attitude of the people who speak the English language. "He should be proficient in the language; his knowledge of, and expertise in methods and techniques of language teaching should be of a reasonably high standard" (Verghese, 2011).

Statement of the Problem

To learn English requires constant practice and patience. The kind of feeling that prevails among students is that it is not possible to achieve fluency or mastery in the English language. This kind of predetermined limited success approach prevents students from learning English effectively. Despite the importance of learning English, the following problems prevent students from learning English Language effectively: Environment, home background, mother tongue, and duration of exposure, attitude, classroom conditions, and availability of competence of teachers. 

It is based on this background that the researcher intends to look at some phonological problems in learning English as a second language.

Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to examine some phonological problems encountered by secondary school students in the study of English as a secondary language. The specific objectives are:  

1.         to identify if mother tongue impinges on pronunciation in English

2.        to identify if incompetence teachers influence students’ pronunciation in English

3.        to identify if home background influence learners’ pronunciation in the study of English.

Research Questions

1.    How does mother tongue impinge on pronunciation in English as a second language?

2.      How does incompetence teacher influence students’ pronunciation inEnglish?           

3.   How does home background influencelearners’pronunciationin the study of


Significance of the study

The study will be significant to students, teachers, presenters and public speakers. In the light of this study, the study is relevant because it made attempt to reveal the problems and challenges faced in learning English.

The study will be helpful to presenters and public speakers because of the nature of their job. It will also help them to know their flaws in phonetic and how to work on it.

The findings of this study will also be useful to students and teachers because it will serve as tutelage on how teachers can work on the problems that affect the pronunciation of students.

The conclusion can be used both in the current issues concerning phonological problems as well as the formation of new strategies in enhancing students' performance in phonological problems in schools. The study is also relevant for future studies and can be used as a reference point for other studies.

Scope of the Study

This study is targeted at refocusing phonological problems encountered by secondary school in English. The study will also examine how mother tongue impinges on pronunciation in English, how incompetence of teachers influence students’ pronunciation in English, how family background influence learners’ pronunciation in the study of English language.

The study covered all the 10 secondary schools in Enugu East Local Government Area of Enugu State. 





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