Implication Of Nigerian English On Teaching And Writing Skills Of Senior Secondary School Students In Ilorin West LGA

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Implication Of Nigerian English On Teaching And Writing Skills Of Senior Secondary School Students In Ilorin West LGA


This study examines the implication of Nigerian English on teaching and writing skills of senior secondary school students in Ilorin West LGA

The study used descriptive statistics to investigate study objectives. From the findings of this study, all the null hypotheses were rejected. Relevant data were collected using questionnaires and test items. The research population includes one hundred and fifty students and twenty teachers randomly selected from two randomly selected secondary schools.

The data collected were calculated and analyzed in percentages. The following findings and conclusions were arrived at: The difference in phonological and orthographical systems in English and Yoruba leads to linguistic interference in acquiring English. Students’ mastery of English Language is affected by home and linguistic backgrounds. The differences in the grammatical and vocabulary patterns of Yoruba and Pidgin English interfere with the students’ mastery of English. On the basis of these findings, some recommendations were made to improve the standard of teaching and to limit the linguistic interference

Table of Content

Chapter One:


  • 1.1 Background of study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem
  • 1.3 Purpose of the study
  • 1.4 Objectives of the study
  • 1.5 Research questions
  • 1.6 Test of Hypothesis
  • 1.7 Delimitation of the study
  • 1.8 Scope of the study
  • 1.9 Significance of the study
  • 1.10 Definition of terms
  • 1.11 Organization of the Study
  • 1.12 Conclusion.

Chapter Two:

Review of Related Literature

  • 2.1 Conceptual Review
  • 2.2 Theoretical Review
  • 2.3 Empirical Review
  • 2.4 Conclusion

Chapter Three:

Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Introduction
  • 3.2 Methodology
  • 3.3 Research design
  • 3.4 Population of the study
  • 3.5 Research instrument
  • 3.6 Sampling and sample procedures
  • 3.6 Description of the Sample and Sampling Procedures
  • 3.6.1 Sampling of Schools
  • 3.6.2 Sampling of Students
  • 3.6.3 Sampling of Teachers
  • 3.7. Procedure for data analysis
  • 3.8 Reliability of the Study
  • 3.9 Validity of the Study
  • 3.10 Ethical consideration
  • 3.11 Conclusion

Chapter Four:

Data Analysis and Result Presentation

  • 4.0 Introduction
  • 4.1 Questionnaire Return Rate
  • 4.3 Data Presentation
  • 4.4 Test of Hypothesis

Chapter Five:

Summary and Conclusion

  • 5.1 Introduction
  • 5.2 Summary of the Study
  • 5.3 Recommendations
  • 5.4 Conclusion

Chapter One


1.1. Background of Study

Nigerian English is a nativized form of English. Like South African English, its nativization and development as a New World English corresponds roughly with the period of colonization and post-colonization by Britain. Adegbija, (1989) Nigerian English became a nativized language that functions uniquely within its own cultural context Lass, Roger.

Nigerian English has long been a controversial idea, in that the idea of a “Standard Nigerian English” (SNE) is difficult to establish, considering the fossilization that has occurred in the formal instruction of English in many regions of Nigeria, due largely to a variety of factors including “interference, lack of facilities, and crowded classrooms”. Oko (Spring 2017) Due to the contact between British Standard English and Nigerian English, which have two very different sets of grammatical, pronunciation, and spelling rules, there has arisen a predominant occurrence of “faulty analogy” (the assumption that because one grammatical feature resembles another in usage, the rules applying to the former also apply to the latter) in what Okoro refers to as “substandard” varieties of Nigerian English. However, there are a few features that have united across NE communities that bridge the differences between different varieties even within NE, all pertaining to cultural values that are expressed uniquely in English terms. Two prevalent examples are “sorry” and “sir”. Adamo (2007) The literal meaning of sorry usually indicates some sort of responsibility on the part of the person saying it; however, for all of the varieties of NE, it is used to express sympathy in a unique way, or to show empathy to whoever has experienced misfortune. “Sir,” or the replacement of names with titles, indicates respect and a high value for politeness Adamo (2007).

English language is a world language. It is spoken as a first language in Britain and America. But it is spoken as a second language in many more countries of the world as a result of colonization. Although a second language, it can even be regarded as one of the major languages in Africa because it has become such a vital and essential tool in the daily lives of the people in the continent. In 1953 the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) published a report arguing in favor of mother tongue (First language) instruction. UNESCO noted that the benefits of mother tongue instruction are along many dimensions.

Psychologically, mother tongue language is the system of meaningful signs that in his mind works automatically for expression and understanding Sociologically, it is a means of identification among member of the community to which he belongs. Educationally, he learns more quickly through it than through an unfamiliar linguistic medium (UNESCO, 1953, p. 11).

A language is a second language when it is chosen as the official language of a people who have other languages. In several countries of Africa, including Nigeria, it is the official language, the language of government, education, administration and general national and international transactions. It also, in these countries, serves as the language of the law courts, the mass media and commerce. In many of ‘such countries, it did not become important by choice. It is the major aspect of British colonialism which has stuck like glue years after the countries regained their independence. Text books have remained in English especially in countries like Nigeria where there are numerous indigenous languages which deter curriculum planners from providing texts in so many languages.
In many African countries today, there could be no serious interchange of professional knowledge, no education beyond the secondary school level, without the English language. The multiplicity of languages has seen to this and has placed English language in a very superior position as unifying force and will likely remain so for a very long time.

In Nigeria, the role of English is quite important especially since the problem of multiplicity of languages is really acute. It is, therefore, not foreseeable in future that any one language group will dominate the others successfully to become accepted as the language of education and government.

The assertion is without prejudice to the Federal Government of Nigeria s selection of Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba as her National languages. The importance of English language is so acutely felt that it has remained a compulsory school subject and a pre requisite for further education. Without a pass at the credit level, one does not hope to advance further in the country s educational ladder. This is the reason behind parents worry about their wards level of performance in the language. Such parents are quick to identify lapses which are sometimes erroneously regarded as marks of falling standards. Since English is needed for both internal and external communication, the teachers of the language have a lot of work to do. The major implication of the status of the language in Nigeria, and Africa as a whole for the teacher is that students must be led to learn to use what is internationally acceptable, not only in structural usage but also in pronunciation and general usage. Spoken and written language must be intelligible for successful internal and external communication.

Whenever a second language is used as a language of education, it is only reasonable for us to ‘accede that even the most elementary facts and ideas cannot be learnt until the child has acquired the language of instruction, at least in its oral form. The Mother Tongue is the language of the home, the language with which the child grew up; the language of his immediate community. Its importance in the education of the child cannot be questioned. Merriam-Webster defined mother tongue as ‘the language that a person learns to speak first. A child, having spent his formative years at home and having learnt the language is best equipped to learn in it. Through this medium, a child can study almost any learning matter. Educationally, therefore, the mother tongue is very important. Where a foreign language has been adopted for use as a second language, it is only reasonable to set in motion activities that would lead to its mastery before it is used for teaching and learning.

There are other problems that can face a child whose mother tongue is different from the language of the school. He often tends to think in his mother tongue while expressing himself in the second language. This usually encourages rote learning and so impairs understanding. There is also the question of educational loss especially in systems where the use of the second language begins too early in the first few years of school. Such educational loses make it mandatory for a child to begin his educational career through his mother tongue while learning the second language as a school subject. With such a practice, the transition from home to school is gradual and rewarding.

1.2. Statement of Problem

Though the exact levels of Nigerian English usage are contested, one suggestion indicates there are 4 levels of usage within this nativized (but not indigenous) English Adamo (2007)

  • Level 1: Pidgin, spoken as the casual language
  • Level 2: A step above, and the most spoken. Spoken by those with elementary education
  • Level 3: Marked by more expansive lexicon, fluency, and using features of Level 1 speakers are “avoided,” spoken by those with “secondary education”
  • Level 4: Proposed as the NSE as its features are very similar (but still characteristically Nigerian) “to Standard English,” spoken by those with a college education

These levels are only one proposed differentiation of the pragmatic realizations of Nigerian English. Because of the nature of its presence in Nigeria, English has been a point of contention among Nigerian residents who strive for a more nativisitic lifestyle (i.e. returning to the predominant speech of indigenous languages of the country). However, due to the nature of English’s introduction and role in exerting the values of colonization on a post-colonial Nigeria, some would call English inseparable from the nature of language in the region.

As the literature currently stands, most phonological studies have analyzed a plethora of Nigerian English speakers from a wide range of backgrounds (region of origin, current profession, social class, etc.). There has been special focus on such regions as Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba.[5] Nigerian English can be thought of in a similar way to American English in this approach: just as in American English, Nigerian English varies from region to region, and as such, phonological variables are realized in different ways in different regions. Early studies have associated Nigerian English with being syllable-timed rather than stress-timed, but the dialect has thus far evaded specific grouping in either category. Milde and Jan-Torsten suggest that Nigerian English is closer to a tonal language, alike to other West African tonal languages, but rather than tones being associated with stressed and unstressed syllables, they are associated with grammatical functions. They suggest that “articles, prepositions and conjunctions tend to have a low tone, whereas nouns, verbs and adjectives are usually produced with a high tone.

Nigerian English shows certain features that make it a unique variety of English, as it embodies old English with modern varieties of the English language. It seems as if Nigerians cause the original meanings of some words to be altered to accommodate their cultural usage patterns. However, since Nigerian English has its own unique syntax and phonology that differs from standard English, Nigerian English cannot be used outside of its social spectrum. Upon further investigation, the comment section of the interview shows that Nigerian English is also a variety that is difficult to understand by the natives. Some commentators mentioned that the variety Obahiagbo uses differs from the one they learn at school, which I assume is a standard version of English. This also explains why Nigerian Pidgin is used as a lingua franca in the country instead of this variety of English. Regarding the question if Nigerian English can be considered as a variety of English,

The use of a particular form of a language by an individual reflects the individual s social status. That is why Blackar (1999) says, we actually live and behave in a world of language. Hence, the use of language to an extent is an item which reflects social identity.

In a politically, socially, culturally and linguistically diverse society, the learning and usage of a second language becomes very necessary not because it makes possible mutual interaction. In our Nigerian society, such is the situation because Nigeria has a geographical and political entity as was colonized by the British who were from a different linguistic background but English was adopted as a medium of communication and interaction.

Wilson and Smith (2009) states that, it is widely held and proven that human beings are disposed to learning certain types of language . This innate disposition enables one to acquire a first language and learn a second one. This ability however, differs from one individual to the other and this is what Elindor (1989) described as linguistic inequality a striking difference in the lexis users the difference that exists between these two speakers enables us to assess them as one belonging to a higher class and the other to a lower class in the social strata.

When we read from most students in secondary schools in Kwara State traces of interference are observed. If we listen to some students and also listen to a monolingual student who is a speaker of Yoruba, we notice an obvious difference. We realize a considerable element of English in the student of Yoruba origin. Linguistically, the effect is located at the phonological level

When we also listen to the secondary school students in Kwara State at the phonological level, we hear how sounds in Yoruba are reproduced in terms of English; interference occurs. Here lies the problem which this study seeks to investigate.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

An attempt investigating the effect of Nigerian English on teaching and writing of secondary school students in Kwara State, focusing on the state capital.

1.4 Objectives of the Study

  1. To find out the level at which mother tongue and Pidgin English can interfere in the learning of English language in secondary school.
  2. To investigate the speech qualification of English teachers using questionnaires. Using Kwara State as case study
  3. To investigate whether background and environment also influence language. In order words to find out, how the language used in the child’s immediate environment influences a child’s use of language.
  4. To examine solutions by schools on better English language use

1.5 Research Questions

This research is guided by the following questions;

  1. What is the level at which mother tongue and Pidgin English can interfere in the learning of English language in secondary school?
  2. What is the speech qualification of English teachers using questionnaires? Using Kwara State as case study
  3. Does background and environment also influence language. In order words to find out, how the language used in the child’s immediate environment influences a child’s use of language?
  4. What are solutions by schools on better English language use?

1.6 Test of Hypothesis

  • H0 There is no significant relationship between speaking Pidgin English by students and writing skill
  • H1 There is no significant relationship between speaking Pidgin English by students and writing skill

1.7 Delimitation of the Study

This project examines the effect of Nigerian English on teaching and writing in secondary schools in Kwara State and few challenges might be encountered in the course of this research which include;

Finance will be a great constraint. Cost of research questionnaire, transportation, time factor and other miscellaneous requirements that aid in carrying out this research successfully might be difficult to come by.

Also, there might be a problem of getting relevant data for this project work from the secondary school students; as students might feel reluctant to collect the questionnaire and to answer my proposed questions. And the lack of power supply might hinder the progress of this research.

1.8 Scope of the Study

Language cannot be studied in isolation from the society, because men make up the society and the importance of language to man has remained unchallenged by any scientific linguistic research. Also, the importance of a second language that has almost assumed status in the society cannot be dismissed with a wave of hand. This research work will attempt investigating the effect of Nigerian English on teaching and writing of secondary school students in Kwara State, focusing on the state capital.

1.9 Significance of the Study

This study will help to expose the numerous factors that influence the interference of the study of English language by the mother tongue or native languages. It will also identify the effects of this interference on other study area that are based on the use of the English language as the basic communication. This study will enable teachers to identify their problems in English language. This study will also enable student to understand how to make use of English words especially in pronunciation, intonation and phonetics. It will also enable the teachers to make more research on the use of English language. Since English language has been used as a second official and sometimes even as a foreign language in Nigeria for a long time and give the inescapable behavior of language in contact, it is normal to expect it to have factors which can identify itself as bonafide subject, dialect, variety or idiom of world English. These may be seen as research findings relating to interference, derintation and creativity as are seen to obtain among speakers. In Nigeria, English is now the term Nigerian English is used to refer to the subject of English spoken or written by Nigerians, it is commonly known that the features of Nigerians English language, like those of other new English, are essentially inherent particularly at the early stages of learning by the mother tongue features.

1.10 Definition of Terms

Nigerian English, also known as Nigerian Standard English, is a dialect of English spoken in Nigeria. Based on British English, the dialect contains various loanwords and collocations from the native languages of Nigeria, due to the need to express concepts specific to the culture of the nation (e.g. senior wife)

Mother tongue the language which a person has grown up speaking from early childhood.

Pidgina grammatically simplified form of a language, typically English, Dutch, or Portuguese, some elements of which are taken from local languages, used for communication between people not sharing a common language.

1.11 Organization of the Study

This study is divided into five chapters. Chapter one is introduction which consists of the background to the study, statement of problem, research questions, research hypotheses, objectives of the study, the significance of the study, the scope and limitations of the study and finally the organization of the study. Chapter two deals with the literature review which consists of the conceptual literature, theoretical literature, empirical literature, theoretical framework. Chapter three gives the research methodology including research design, population of study, sample size, sampling technique, method of data collection, instrument of data analysis, method of data analysis, validity/reliability of instrument. Chapter four is presentation and analysis of data, discussion of findings. Chapter five gives the summary, conclusion and recommendations.

1.12 Conclusion.

This chapter basically discusses the introduction and basics of this research. It also indicates the purpose and aim of the research.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations

5.1 Introduction

In this chapter, the researcher presents the summary and conclusions drawn from the findings of this study. The chapter also presents recommendations and suggestions for further research.

5.2 Summary of the Study

This study is an analysis of the implication of Nigerian English on teaching and writing skills of senior secondary school students in Kwara State as case study. It provided a background on the influence of mother tongue on the acquisition of English language in Nigerian students. In the background to the problem, the researcher has pointed from other studies that consider factors that influence performance of English that use of mother tongue and Pidgin English as a factor that influence performance of English has been identified by various scholars. This study precisely analyzed the influence of mother tongue on performance of English in Kwara State. The
The significance of the study is that it would provide useful information to all education stakeholders on how to improve performance of English in secondary schools. For example the Secondary school principals would use the findings to come up with feasible and informed language policies. The study was conducted in secondary schools in Nigeria and was delimited to students and English teachers. Review of the related literature was done on influence of mother tongue on performance of English. It addressed the issue of code switching. transfer or interference, perception of mother tongue and influence on performance of English. However, literature review did not show an analysis of use of mother tongue and Pidgin English and its influence on the performance of English. Thus this study analysed the use of mother tongue and Pidgin English and its influence on performance of English.

The researcher used a survey design. Secondary schools in Kwara State were studied. English teachers and students were sampled to participate in this study. Information was obtained from students through questionnaires focusing on English teachers. Both quantitative and qualitative data were obtained. Research experts from the Department of Post Graduate studies were consulted which ensured content validity of the instruments. Reliability was also ensured through test retesting of the instrument where Pearson product moment correlation co-efficient was calculated and a value of 0.87 was obtained for the students questionnaires while a value of 0.79 was obtained for the teachers questionnaires.

Quantitative data were analyzed with help of SPSS version 17.0 while qualitative data was analyzed through arranging responses into themes and summarized using descriptive reports. Analyzed data was presented in frequency tables.

The findings in the research justify the followings:

It is not uncommon, as table 1 justifies, to find graduates whose subject specialisation is not English teaching English in the upper classes. For instance; only 45% of the respondents (30% graduates and 15% N.C.E. holders) had the relevant teaching qualification to handle English language. It is not unlikely that the knowledge being imparted Ey the remaining 55%, Who had no teaching qualifications, might affect adversely students’ mastery of L2. This is what Tiffen (1969) meant when he said:

… those who are not relatively low educationally have had little or no training in teaching English.

It was discovered during the research that there were vocabulary and grammatical differences between L1 and L2. This is evident from the results on tables 3 and 7 where 100% of the Ss indicated that there were traces of direct translation from Yoruba to English in the students works.

No doubt, these linguistic differences had effect on students’ mastery and acquisition of L2. Moreover, it was discovered that though majority of the students were from literate homes, (40% from graduate and N.C.E. holders and 43% from Grd II/WASC and Primary Six Certificate holders) which should give the students opportunity for good linguistic and home background. However, test items given to the students that some of them performed relatively poor. It should be noted that the home and linguistic background had some positive effect on some of these students. See Tables 6 and 7. In the same test on translation, which was to cater for vocabulary and grammatical differences, it was discovered that we had some students whose parents were illiterate and yet scoring high marks than those from literate homes who scored low marks.

5.3 Recommendations

Students should be made aware of the differences in the phonological, orthographical, vocabulary and grammatical patterns in English and Yoruba

Also, more written and practical discussions involving students should be encouraged. Such discussions could be in the form of debate, symposium and quiz. The written and practical work could also be in the form of introduction of oral English in the school curriculum and more oral work like Speech drills.

The government should strive to introduce adult education and compulsory mass literacy program. This will help improve home and linguistic backgrounds of the students. Also, only qualified teachers should be engaged to handle the subject as this will help a lot.

Teachers should cultivate a positive perception towards the use of English in school. They should be role models to the students and encourage them to converse in English.

Schools should come up with a reward punishment system to encourage use of English and discourage use of mother tongue and Pidgin English.

Teachers should come up with teaching methods that are interactive to ensure that students are given an opportunity to interact with each other in English so that students can have good communication skills.

5.4 Conclusion

The study established implication of Nigerian English on teaching and writing skills of senior secondary school students of Nigeria using Kwara State as case study. Students and teachers code switched for various reasons. Thus it was concluded that the prevalent use of mother tongue and Pidgin English adversely influenced performance of English. The perception of teachers and students regarding influence of mother tongue on performance of English is equally important. Teachers and students hold the perception that use of mother tongue and Pidgin English has a negative influence on performance of English. The perception that use of mother tongue and Pidgin English influence negatively performance of English was the general conclusion drawn from both the English teachers and students.

To curb use of mother tongue and Pidgin English, proper measures need to be put in place; language policies can reduce the use of mother tongue and Pidgin English if they are implemented in the right way. An established mechanism that ensures students are rewarded and punished in equal measure can help to deter use of mother tongue and Pidgin English and encourage use of English. It was thus concluded that teachers reward for students who use English and punishment for those who use mother tongue is important to encourage students to converse in English and deter those who intend to converse in mother tongue.

Challenges that are as a result of use of mother tongue and Pidgin English are varied. Use of mother tongue and Pidgin English brings about challenge in pronunciation and writing in English. Students also exhibit a challenge of lack of confidence and poor communication skills as a result of use of mother tongue and Pidgin English. The challenges that can arise can be eliminated by provision of a conducive environment for learners to use English. Therefore, it was deduced that use of mother tongue and Pidgin English influences writing and pronunciation of English worth and this performance of English.

Finally, strategies to be used to improve the performance of English are of importance. Consequently, the general conclusion was that teachers have to provide students with an environment to cultivate their reading skills and spoken English. It was also deduced that using English as the language of interaction through debates and discussions in class was important.

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