Impact Of Nigerian Pidgin English On English Writing And Speaking Competence Of Students In Tertiary Institution

Project and Seminar Material for English Education

Impact Of Nigerian Pidgin English On English Writing And Speaking Competence Of Students In Tertiary Institution


Abstract


This study set out to determine the impact of Nigerian pidgin English on English writing and speaking competence of students in Tertiary institution. The case study of this project was Ebonyi State University. The Study adopted the survey research method using self-administered questionnaire. The data gathered from the questionnaire revealed that Pidgin English is spoken widely among the students. The samples used for the study were 100 students. The results of the study showed that Pidgin has no grammatical rules guiding it like Standard English. Also, the frequent use of Pidgin English impacts negatively on students’ competence Standard English speaking. Lastly, the frequent use of Pidgin English impacts student’s style of writing Standard English negatively. The study concluded that the use of Pidgin English poses a big problem in the teaching and learning of English language, as a result of this, learning of English language has declined greatly due to the impact Pidgin English has on students including the teachers. The study recommended that school libraries need to provide interesting books which are written in Standard English language to help minimize their use of Pidgin English.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of study

Language in multilingual societies such as Nigeria has always been a matter of concern to educators, educational planners and parents especially with regard to its appropriate use in communication. The English language is the medium of instruction in all Nigerian educational institutions at all levels.

According to (Akwanya, 2010), language has often been identified as the most unique attribute of man and without language, there is no society. Language does not only bring meanings to the world, it also shape one’s cognitive process. Such as perception, interpretation and judgment. Also according to William (1992) he agrees that language embodies the spirit of people who speak it also that grammatical forms have impact on the development of ideas.
Although English language is the country’s official language, it is also a second language because Nigerians already had their first language that is their mother tongue (li) before the invasion of the foreign language “English language” into the country. English language did not come to Nigeria on its own. Its movement into Nigeria was caused by a lot of factors like trading, slavery colonization and missionary activities and this also led to the existence of pidgin language23 that is rampart all over the world but mainly in Nigeria.

Pidgin English or broken English (as it is called) originated during the slave trade era as a means of communication between the Europeans and the Africans. It was the language used in their business transaction in the seventeenth century. It is a continuous series of English Pidgins and creoles spoken by other West-African countries such as Cameroon, Sierra Leone and Ghana.

In the 19th century, undocumented laborers from China, Portugal, Japan, the Philippines, Korea, and many other nations were brought to work on plantations, alongside Hawaiians that were owned and operated by Caucasian North Americans. Pidgin Hawaiian was the first Pidgin to develop on plantation in the 19th century, for Hawaiian was the main language of interethnic communication in schools and society until 1875, when the Reciprocity treaty with the United States was signed. Due to their spontaneous adaptability, Pidgins are unlike other languages in that they can be as structured or as unstructured as needed. Pidgins are not used as mother tongues, although over time and generations, the language evolves is adopted and changes gradually to become first language for new generation

Historically this occurs in situations where native language is seen as coordinate, or banned in the case of slavery, and is the point where Pidgin arguably moves to become a creek, or a normalized language. Scholars debated up till now, to what point can Pidgin language evolve to become a Creole and replace a native language over the generations. Complicated staff for such a seemingly simple language set.

The teachers and students are victim of these observations about Nigerian Pidgin. And perhaps the cultural impact of the native language on the teacher is largely reflected on the students since no student is believed not to be greater than his/her teacher. In view of this, Akujobi and Chukwu (2017), quoting Ashby submitted that ‘the quality of English used in the classroom is such that all pupils are to a serious disadvantage. It cannot be doubted that thousands of the most gifted are unable to further their education because they were not taught well the language in which they were examined.’ They further pointed out that ‘according to the canons of the discipline for language pedagogy, the more the difference between the system of the target language, the more difficult learning invariably becomes and the smaller the difference, the easier the learning.’

The above assertion gives credence to the difficulty faced by students who grew up in an environment where native language is widely used than Standard English in teaching and learning. This will make their learning of the Standard English a herculean task. Students’ daily use of their native language in communication within and outside the school has further enhanced the use of Nigerian Pidgin which is derived from a blend of the morphology of the native language and the syntax of the Standard English in its usage.

The Nigerian Pidgin English is a version of English and Ethic Nigerian languages spoken as a kind of lingua Franca across Nigeria and is referred to as “Broken English” or even Broken bottle” it is estimated that Nigerian Pidgin English is the native language of approximate 3 to 5 million people and is a second language for at least another 75 million people. English introduced to Nigeria during the colonial era, was chosen as Nigeria’s only official language.

However not all the English spoken in Nigeria is the Standard English recognizable in most English-speaking countries. A new way of speaking and interacting among non-native speaker has developed with its own unique pronunciation and vocabulary. This form of communication is Nigerian Pidgin English also referred to as Pidgin by the speakers. Although Pidgin English has been badly misunderstood by many English language experts as being dirty. It doesn’t stop anybody who speaks it to. ICONS like fela Anikulapa- kuti have been misunderstood but that didn’t stop him from singing all his afro beats with Pidgin English.

Although pidgin is not recognized in national development, Pidgin English has been growing fast since its inception. In essence, two languages spoken commonly in Nigeria especially in inter-ethnic situations are English language and Pidgin English (Gani-Kilama, 1992). In the case of English language even though it is found in every part of the country it is restricted to those who have formal education. As for Pidgin English, not only is it found in every part of the country but it is also spoken by people of all classes weather they are illiterates or formally educated. Elugbe and Omamar (1991) discuss the use of Pidgin English in academic by some lecturers and students.

The problem of most writers is direct translation of their mother tongue while writing. Writing skill is a higher order skill and it has to be taught formally in the school. In writing, the following are to be considered:

  • Grammar
  • A range of vocabulary
  • Punctuation
  • Mechanical accuracy
  • Using a range of sentence structure
  • Linking of ideas across sentence to develop a topic
  • Developing and organizing the contents

The above mentioned items which are to be considered while writing cannot be achieved without speaking this is because writing cannot be achieved without speaking. Most people assume that one writes what one speaks. According to Ogbueli (2003) he enumerated some factors which language learners contend with. These factors include; the interference phenomenon, unavailability of spoken medium, conflicting theories of English as a second language and use of pidgin. Another factor is the unavailability of the spoken medium. The students are not exposed to the spoken medium of the language. Learning a language is expedient when a learner begins with the spoken variety. The variety carries all emotional and cultural nuances of the language and4therefore, makes creativity in the writing medium easier.


1.2 Statement of Problem

There is a general belief among students that Pidgin English serves as a variety of English that facilitates communication though it is a deviation from the norm. The above assumption provided the basis for the use of Pidgin especially among students. The use of Pidgin goes beyond verbal communication and has become more of a verbal behavior as its expression has moved from the boundaries of informal conversation to formal situations. Scholars have called for the urgent consideration and pronouncement of Nigeria Pidgin as co-official language with English, (Balogun, 2012; Amao, 2012; Uguru, 2003; Elugbe and Omamor, 1991).

Pidgin is a language of its own just as Standard English language. Though Nigerian pidgin appeared to be the most popular means of communicating with some groups and its easier to learn than any other language in the country. It is generally known that pidgin is not the suitable language to use in formal setting. Therefore, its use in formal setting is usually not accepted, contrary to the situation above, learners use pidgin while interacting with each other and at the same time adopts the socio-linguistic behavior of code-switching. Code switching is a linguistic process whereby an individual switch from one language to another within a single speech event. This seems to impact the English language writing skills of Ebonyi State University students. These Pidgin English has deprived plenty of students the ability to be conversant with the Standard English that is indispensable among Nigerian students. Every student needs a proper understanding of the English language in order to perform in any courses of study excellently.


1.3 Purpose of Study

The general purpose of the study is to examine the impact of Nigerian pidgin English on English writing and speaking competence of students in Tertiary institution.

Specifically, the study intends to find out:

  1. Impact of Pidgin English on students understanding of grammatical rules of Standard English.
  2. Impact of Pidgin English on student standard English speaking competence.
  3. Impact of Pidgin English on students’ style of writing Standard English.

1.4 Research Questions

  1. What is the effect of Pidgin English on students understanding of grammatical rules of Standard English?
  2. To what extent does Pidgin English impact the students competence in standard English speaking?
  3. To what extent does Pidgin English impact students’ style of writing standard English.

1.5 Significance of the Study

The study of the impact of Nigerian pidgin on Ebonyi State University students. English language writing skills will be of benefit to the student, the English teacher, the curriculum planner and the government also the society. It is expected to improve the ability of the students to interact effectively in their written English language. The teaching of GST 101 should be looked into in other to enhance/improve good English and to create awareness for the student and the lecturer about the endangerment and harm pidgin language is causing in our society and schools.

Curriculum planners are expected to develop curricula that will tackle/solve the problem of code mixing pidgin with Standard English language by students: The society will see the need to improve in English language by embarking on intervention programme or seminar necessary to enable the students handle the Nigerian pidgin differently from the standard English language.


1.6 Scope of Study

This study intends to investigate the impact of Nigerian pidgin English on English writing and speaking competence of students in Ebonyi State University students. Owing to constraints of time, this study is restricted to only the student of Ebonyi State University While the content scope of this study in the impact of Pidgin English on Ebonyi State University students English language skills.


Chapter Five


Discussion, Implication, Recommendation and Summary

This chapter centers on discussion of findings, based on the data interpretation made in chapter four. They are examined and inference drawn from there.

The chapter starts with discussion of findings of the study and ends with suggestions for further studies.


5.1 Discussion of findings

In research question one the researcher wants to know the impact Pidgin English has on students understanding of grammatical rule of Standard English. This is obtainable because Pidgin has no grammatical rules guiding it like Standard English.

The finding agree with Kafewo (2008), that student’s use of Pidgin English affect their usage of standard English negatively because the language lack grammatical rules and encompasses local dialect.

In research question two, the researcher wants to know how the frequent use of Pidgin English impacts student competence Standard English speaking. This result shows that Pidgin English impacts student performance in the use of Standard English. Onuigbo (2009) Opine that the corrupting impacts of Pidgin English hinders the proper development and use of English in Nigeria. He said that this scenario presents a nagging problem that continues to increase in multitude and therefore create wreck and havoc to the foundation of English language.

In research question three, the researcher wants to know the effect of Pidgin English on student’s style of writing Standard English. The result of the finding shows that frequent use of Pidgin English impacts student’s style of writing Standard English. Every type of writing has a particular style. This agrees with Onuigbo (2006) who says that every type of writing demands a distinctive style and a distinctive approach. He went on to say that students are expected to know how to write different kind of essays.


5.2 Implication of the Study

From the finding of this study, some of the following implications were noted:

Having seen that the use of Pidgin English impacts students understanding of written English, the use of Pidgin English poses a big problem in the teaching and learning of English language, as a result of this, learning of English language has declined greatly due to the impact Pidgin English has on students including the teachers. If this continuous without any solution, the teaching and learning of English language may collapse, which will extend to the teaching and learning of other subjects, knowing that English language is the language of instruction.

To put an end to this destructive fore which is creating problem in the field of teaching and learning of English language, teaches of English language should research on ways to impacting knowledge on the student which will put a stop on the impact of Pidgin on the learning of English language.

It was also discovered that the co-existence of the two languages, that is Pidgin English and English language impacts the proper use of English language in schools. In addition to these, some errors are also identified because of frequent use of Pidgin English which constitutes a very big problem resulting in a very poor and unacceptable resulting in a very poor and unacceptable expression in English finally, this study has shown that holding onto pidgin English can mar the academic progress of a student and negatively impact students performance in the real language of education in Nigeria.


5.3 Recommendation

Based on the findings which have been made, the following recommendations are made:

  1. Students should take precautions and minimize the way they use Pidgin English.
  2. Students are also advised to use pidgin on rare occasions and not frequently.
  3. The government has the responsibility to formulate a clear cut policy on Pidgin English.
  4. Students should make unhindered effort in that study of English language and this will bring about progress in Education which is necessary for national growth and development.
  5. School libraries need to provide interesting books which are written in Standard English language to help minimize their use of Pidgin English.

5.4 Limitation of the Study

The major limitation encountered during the process of carrying out this research was the population of the students to be used to carry out the research. The study was meant to cover the whole student offering GST 101 in Ebony State University, but due to large population of students, only one hundred students were used.


5.5 Suggestion for further research

Further research should be carried out in the following areas:

  1. The importance of using language laboratory for effective learning.
  2. The role of Pidgin English when it comes to formal setting
  3. Factors that militate against language learning.
  4. Reason why some students acquire Pidgin as their first language.

5.6 Summary

The objective of this research was to find out the impact of Pidgin English on students English language writing skills in Ebonyi State University. The study went on to find out the role of Pidgin English and that of English language. Further research was also made in chapter two of the study explains the nature of Pidgin English and that of English language and their different functions in our society. It went further to discuss the concept of essay and looked into the different types of essay writing.

The theories used for the analysis of the impact of Pidgin English on the written English language of Ebonyi State University students were structuralism and constructive analysis theories. Finally on this note, literature review was involved to


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