RENEGOTIATING STUDENT APATHY TO THE USE OF STANDARD SPOKEN ENGLISH LANGUAGE IN UNIVERSITIES


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RENEGOTIATING STUDENT APATHY TO THE USE OF STANDARD SPOKEN ENGLISH LANGUAGE IN UNIVERSITIES IN SOUTH EASTERN NIGERIA 

ABSTRACT

 The incidence of the poor English spoken among Nigerian university students is an embarrassing situation which seems to have defied a myriad of solutions. The reluctance among these students to speak standard and proper English language complicates issues. The researcher is therefore interested in finding out the causes of the appalling apathy of university students to speak Standard English. The researcher therefore, conducted a research on the postulatory factors which led to the existing apathy in some randomly selected secondary schools in Enugu state in South Eastern Nigeria. From the interviews and questionnaire administered to the students, it was found that family background, academic background, quality of teachers and style of teaching influenced the students’ perception or value of Standard spoken English language and led to the apathy. The paper then suggests some ways through which students’ spoken English can be improved.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

TITLE PAGE I

CERTIFICATION II

APPROVAL PAGE III

DEDICATION IV

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS V

TABLE OF CONTENT VI

ABSTRACT VII

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION

BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY 1

STATEMENT OF PROBLEM 3

PURPOSE OF THE STUDY 4

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY 5

SCOPE OF THE STUDY 5

RESEARCH QUESTIONS 6

CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE

CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK 8

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE 9

ORIGIN OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE IN NIGERIA 10

POSITION OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE IN NIGERIA 13

POOR LISTENING SKILLS 14

LEARNERS' ATTITUDE TOWARDS THEIR OWN ERRORS 15

TEACHER'S ATTITUDE TOWARDS LEARNERS' ERRORS 16

INTER-LINGUAL INTERFERENCE 17

SOCIOLINGUISTICS 18

THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK 22

EMPIRICAL STUDIES 29

SUMMARY OF LITERATURE REVIEW 33

CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODS

DESIGN OF THE STUDY 34

AREA OF THE STUDY 34

POPULATION OF THE STUDY 35

SAMPLE AND SAMPLING TECHNIQUE 35

INSTRUMENT FOR DATA COLLECTION 35

VALIDITY OF THE INSTRUMENT 35

RELIABILITY OF THE INSTRUMENT 36

METHOD OF DATA COLLECTION 36

METHOD OF DATA ANALYSIS 36

CHAPTER FOUR: PRESENTATION OF RESULT

PRESENTATION OF DATA 37

CHAPTER FIVE: DISCUSSION, IMPLICATION, RECOMMENDATION AND SUMMARY

DISCUSSION OF RESULTS 42

CONCLUSION 45

IMPLICATION OF THE STUDY 46

RECOMMENDATIONS 47

LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY 48

SUGGESTION FOR STUDIES 48

SUMMARY OF THE STUDY 49

REFERENCES 51

APPENDIX 53

QUESTIONNAIRE 54

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study

Language is central to all our lives, and is arguably the cultural tool that sets humans apart from any other species. Language is also the symbolic behaviour that allows human specialties- education, art, religion and science- to occur. We use it to practice government; we use it to preach the gospel; we use it to engage in trade; we use it in teaching and learning of everything. A beautiful fact about language as a general term is that unlike other forms of cultural behaviour, it is blind to demographics, socio economics and ethnic difference. The only variation is found in the numerous, existing types of languages used by human persons. The English language is one of these existing human languages. English today is a unique language, quite functionally and structurally different from other languages of the world. English has been accepted as a second language in Nigeria, right from the time the country was colonized by Britain. It is also the language of education and Nigerians have shown much prominence in all academic pursuits. However, the English language encounters several challenges serving as a vehicular language in the education of persons from diverse ethnic backgrounds. English language teachers face growing pressures to meet the needs of increasingly diverse learners, both in terms of ethnicity, and language, and also in terms of economic and social circumstances. According to Brown (2015), the goal of the language learners is to make sure that they can communicate what they have in mind effectively, they have to be understood when they are uttering the words. For effective communication, the researcher considers it pertinent to examine exhaustively a good number of the factors that influence effective communication in English, especially as it relates to the Nigerian undergraduates.

The de facto National Policy on Language (in Education) recognizes the multidimensional, multi-lingual three tier political party state which tries to capture the multi-ethnic and, ipso facto, multi-lingual polity which Berlin and the British have hammered into a joint existence. This policy provides for English- the official language- as the language of formal literacy, the bureaucracy, secondary and higher education, the law courts, etc, while all Nigerian languages (language of the immediate environment) can be a media of instruction in initial levels of literacy and in life-long and non-formal education. However, down through the years, this has morphed to become even the language of communication amongst students. Students in higher levels of learning (tertiary institutions) who are to be taught in English Language alone, have chosen to speak other languages but English amongst themselves. The use of the Creole language (Pidgin) and mother tongue is rampant and wide spread all through Nigerian colleges and universities. One can only imagine why this is so, as it badly affects their overall competence in the use of the English language while in school and much later in life. Nevertheless, this is not to say that a fluency or deft proficiency in one's mother tongue is undesirable or to be discouraged; no. It is to be encouraged, as it adds to the rich and diverse linguistic multiplicity of the nation. The issue at hand is that an overindulgent use of these indigenous languages by university undergraduates is a threat to their overall success in life, both within the nation and internationally. This is true because English language is not only Nigeria's official language, but is also a world language. And with the dawning of each new day, it increasingly becomes even more global and germane for attaining success in life. Consequently, in this research work, effort is made to discover why this nagging problem persists amongst Nigerian university undergraduates, how it came to be and what possible, practical steps can be taken to remedy it.

Statement of the Problem

It is no secret that a vast majority of students in higher institutions of learning in Nigeria struggle to effectively express themselves in the English Language. This is evident in a myriad of ways, some of which include: 

⦁ the way they shy away from all forms of public speaking 

⦁ their general attitude to English language 

⦁ their oral performance in job interviews 

         There could be several reasons why this problem exists. One of these reasons is an overuse of vernacular and creole languages on their part. These students use coined and colloquial lingos to converse amongst themselves and very sparsely and rarely, speak good English Language. This has gone on for too long and has become a critical issue to be looked into. Consequently, challenges abound in the teaching and learning of English in Nigeria. This study is undertaken to draw attention to these existing challenges and some other influences and elements affecting the communication process. 

Purpose of the Study 

The general purpose or objective of this study is to uncover the salient and prominent reasons why there is a general apathy amongst Nigerian University students in speaking Standard English Language. Below are the specific objectives: 

1) To discover the factors that led to the apathy towards the use of Standard Spoken English by Nigerian undergraduates.

2) To discover the influence of English language teaching aids and materials on the use of Standard Spoken English by Nigerian undergraduates.

3) To find out the influence of teachers' teaching methods on the use of Standard Spoken English by Nigerian undergraduates.

4) To determine the influence of cultural environment in the use of Standard Spoken English by Nigerian University students.

Significance of the Study

A lot of researches have been carried out on the language of communication of Nigerian university students, but what makes this study significant is its re-evaluation and fresh investigation into the possible reasons behind the growing reluctance amongst Nigerian undergraduates to use the English Language to communicate both in and outside the classroom. On the completion of this study, it would have been determined from the analysis of the data collected, most of the root causes to the general apathy amongst University students to use English Language. Therefore, the result of this study will be beneficial to teachers, parents, students, curriculum planners, employers of labour, e.t.c. 

Scope of the Study

The researcher chose Godfrey Okoye University, Caritas University and University of Nigeria Enugu Campus as the scope of her research. These universities will be representatives of all other universities within Enugu Metropolis.

Research Questions

1) What are the factors that led to the apathy towards the use of Standard Spoken English by Nigerian undergraduates?

2) What is the influence of English language teaching aids and materials on the use of Standard Spoken English by Nigerian undergraduates? 

3) How do teachers' teaching methods affect the use of Standard Spoken English of Nigerian undergraduates? 

4) What is the influence of cultural environment in the use of Standard Spoken English by Nigerian University students?

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RENEGOTIATING STUDENT APATHY TO THE USE OF STANDARD SPOKEN ENGLISH LANGUAGE IN UNIVERSITIES


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