The Manifestation Of Non Standard Usage Of English Among University Students; The Syntactic Perspective

Project and Seminar Material for English Language

The Manifestation Of Non Standard Usage Of English Among University Students; The Syntactic Perspective

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

Language is characterized by set of vocal sounds which can be decoded. These are produced by human organs of speech- lips, tongue, and larynx etc. The vocal sounds produced by the vocal organs are used in various systematic and rule governed combinations. Language is thus a human phenomenon that has form which can be described in terms of the units of sound (phonemes), words, morphemes, phrases, and paragraph or discourse. Human language is unique in the sense that it has its own structure, its own system of organizing its component units into meaningful patterns.

English, Nigeria’s official language, occupies a unique place in Nigerian education today; not only has English been adopted as the principal medium of instruction in Nigeria’s educational institutions but it has also been institutionalized as the language of educational evaluation in Nigeria school system. However, Kujore notes that it is alarming how in spite of the tremendous functions that English performs as the language of instruction and evaluation in Nigeria and the bold effort made over the years to encourage its effective usage, the vast majority of speakers record in recent years is an appalling low level performance in the language (Kujore, 1995).

This research is going to investigate the instances of the non standard use of English. Whenever a language functions as a borrowed second language, problems of usage are bound to arise. This is because when a language moves out of its original speech community, it is inevitable to have some super imposed linguistics features and frictions resulting from the meeting of two systems and cultural pattern. Moreover, when the English language (being outside its native environment) there is bound to be deviation from the norms in usage (Olagoke 1981). An adult will have learnt one language, which is his mother tongue, which feature she naturally transfers some features to the second language. The study will identify and describe some sub varieties of English usage in Nigeria, which are instances of the use of non Standard English because of the multiplicity of ethnic groups in the country.

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