Problems Students Face in Speaking Correct English: The Case of Form Five Students of Government Bilingual High School, Tombel
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The aim of this study is to assess the speech of Form Five students of GBHS Tombel, thereby; identifying the problems they face in speaking Standard English. To demonstrate this, the Purposive sampling technique is employed to find out when and how often students use the English language, what is responsible for their poor speech, the problems they face in learning the English language and the measures that can be taken to help improve on their speech.
It was found out that the majority of the students speak Pidgin English and their mother tongue and hardly make use of the English language. It is therefore important that students improve on their language power through continuous use of English in their daily lives.
General background and Introduction
The English Language is one of the world’s major languages with about 341 million native speakers and about 267 million people who speak it as their second language. Because of its use in global industries such as tourism and media, there is a very high demand to learn it internationally.
Apart from its use in global industries, the English language is very important in the sense that it is the language spoken in the world’s most powerful countries; America and Britain. Therefore, it is important for students all over the world who wish to further their studies in these countries to have a mastery of the language.
In Cameroon, the English language is one of the two official languages (1996 constitution). It is for this reason that it is taught as a major and compulsory course in all schools in the con the Nursery school to the University.
The English language has four main skills; Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. However, this study focuses on the speaking skill; the problems Form Five students of G.B.H.S Tombel face in speaking Standard English in terms of phonetics, phonology, vocabulary and grammar
Statement of the Problem
Form Five students face a lot of problems in speaking Standard English. There are various factors which could be responsible for this problem. Some of which are; family background, mother tongue, lack of good reading materials, the acquisition of Pidgin English as the first language and lack of well-trained teachers.
Family background depends on the social status of a family. In most wealthy families, Pidgin English is not accepted because it is considered a language for those of the lower class. Children from average homes speak both English and Pidgin English. In such situations, children are exposed to both languages.
Insufficient practice makes the acquisition of the spoken skill difficult for a child. A child from a high-class family hardly faces this problem because of his exposure to good learning materials like storybooks. On the other hand, children from poor backgrounds are mostly exposed to Pidgin English which has a negative effect on their speech.
Mother tongue influences efficiency at the level of sound production. Some mother tongues use a lot of a particular phoneme with the result that in speaking English that phoneme replaces others which are supposed to be the correct phonemes. Teachers too could also be responsible for speech problems among students. He or She may not have been well trained and as a result, may not be efficient in speech.
Objectives of the study
Writing is a representation of speech, making speech important. Therefore, the spoken skill of the English Language should be taken seriously into consideration in the education of the student. Given that there are various factors which influence students’ speech and pronunciation, this work seeks to assess the speech of the Form Five students of Government Bilingual High School Tombel.
Also taking into consideration that the students are in their final examination class of the secondary school, this work seeks to give them a foundation in their English Language proficiency by encouraging spoken English lessons including some aspects of phonetics, phonology, vocabulary and grammar.
Speaking and writing are obviously two different things. Speech is the primary aspect of a language and writing the secondary aspect. Therefore inefficiency in speech might affect writing. This work is intended to seek solutions to some specific questions on spoken English of Form Five students of G.B.H.S Tombe!, which are;
- Do students use English in their speech? When and how often?
- What is responsible for the poor speech of students?
- What measures could be taken to help improve students’ speech?
- What problems do students face when learning the English Language?