Research Key

Francophone students’ Mastery of English Phonology: the case of level 400 and 500 Students in the department of English and French of the University of Buea

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Qualitative method
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This study sets out to examine the Francophone students’ mastery of English phonology at the University of Buea especially in the faculty of Arts, Department of English and French. Data were collected from student’s records in the use of English phonology. In the course of this research, the researcher reviewed the theoretical framework which comprised need and situational analyses and literature related to the study.

30 questionnaires were administered to know the students’ attitudes toward English phonology. Analyses of the results of level 400-500 students between the years 2014-2015 revealed that they vary in competence and performance in English phonology. Even though some students perform well in this course, many others still have some difficulties. The study sets out to point out these difficulties and suggest what could be done to remedy the situation.


Background of the study

Language is at the very centre of all learning. It is an important factor in human communication and exists in both written and spoken forms. Language is a purely human and non-instinctive method of communicating ideas, emotions and desires. (Sapir, 1929). It can be concluded that language is a system of arbitrary vocal symbols used for inter-human communication. It is very important to note that the ability to communicate depends on the user’s proficiency in the language.

Also, the proficiency level of an individual in a particular language depends on his attitude assimilating that language. Ajzan (1988) considers attitude as a disposition of response favourably or unfavourably to an object, person, institution or event. Our focus is on the English language. In order to learn English the learners’ attitude towards the English language is very essential in the learning process.

The fact that language exists in a vacuum shows us that languages have linguistic aspects such as phonology, syntax, vocabulary, and grammar. In this work, our concern is in the English language. We have to study the linguistic aspects of the English language. From the free encyclopedia language in English is considered as a System of communication consisting of sounds, words, and grammar.

Taking the case of Cameroon as a multilingual country, the republic of Cameroon comprises many indigenous languages and two official languages (English and French). The best zone in Cameroon using the English language is the South- West region. This region contains many institutions such as the University of Buea. Fact that the English language is a world language and one of the official languages in Cameroon, many speakers come to the South- West Region especially to the University of Buea to study this language.

To study the English language, you must know its linguistic aspects such as phonology, syntax, vocabulary, and grammar. But my concern is phonology. For speakers to learn the English language, we must also know English phonology. Speaker’s and learner’s attitude towards English phonology is very important in the first step of learning English. Phonology is an important factor in English. Phonology studies the pronunciation of words of a particular language.

Statement of the problem

To be admitted to the University of Buea as a student, you have to know some English. Knowledge in English phonology is helpful in learning English. Many speakers make errors in English phonology. If students do not know how to pronounce words, their knowledge inadequate. This is the result of low proficiency level and competence in English phonology.

objectives of the study

The objectives of the study are:

– To examine Francophone students’ mastery of English phonology.

-To assess problems faced by Francophone students in English phonology.

-To evaluate the competence and the performance of each Francophone student in English phonology.

Research questions

Based on the aim of this study, the following research questions were formulated:

Do Francophone students articulate English words well?

What are the main problems faced by Francophone students in English phonology?

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