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Pronoun Usage in Secondary Schools: The Case of Form Five Students in G.H.S Bokwango Buea

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Qualitative research
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Descriptive statistics
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This study set out to look at Pronoun Usage in Secondary Schools. Students of form five in G.H.S Bokwango (Buea) were used as a case study.

To arrive at this goal, a test was administered on four aspects of pronouns; pronoun agreement, personal pronouns, possessive pronouns and reflexive/interrogative pronouns. The test was administered to evaluate the ability of students to use pronouns in isolation.

The results of the test showed that personal pronouns are the most problematic for learners, followed by pronoun agreement, while possessive pronouns and reflexive/interrogative pronouns posed the least difficult for them. The Science section performed well as opposed to the Arts section which registered poor results.

I recommend a return to the intense teaching of grammar in secondary schools and equally high schools and those language teachers should dwell more on this area where learners face difficulty.



English is a language most widely spoken and used in the world. According to Quirk (1982), English is the first language after Chinese in terms of the number of speakers or users.

Stevens, (1981) estimates that the number of people who speak the language is about six hundred million and this number is made up of those who use it as a mother tongue, those who use it as a second language and those who use it as a third language.

Those who use it as a mother tongue are native speakers of English like the British, Canadians, Irish, etc. Those who use it as a second language are former British colonies particularly the Commonwealth of Nations such as Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda and Cameroon.

English language speakers generally face little problems on certain occasions since no one is a perfect English speaker. Such problems include the wrong use of pronouns and tenses.

Pronouns constitute a small class of words that are used as replacements or substitutes for a wide variety of nouns and noun phrases that have general references as I, you, he, who. Pronouns are sometimes formally distinguished from nouns in English by the existence of some special

many people who use English as a second language as they often misuse pronouns. This research is centred on the use of pronouns by secondary school students of G.H.S Bokwango. This study seeks to identify the areas of difficulty for students.

Background of the Study

Cameroon is a multi-lingual country with English and French as the official languages. Therefore English is used in Cameroon as a second language to the Anglophones and as a foreign language to the Francophones.

It is important to note that English is the minority language spoken in only two regions out of the ten regions in Cameroon i.e. South West Region and North West Region. Due to its importance as an international language, many Cameroonians from the traditional French-speaking Regions have chosen to study in English.

Worthy of note is the fact that English faces problems in Cameroon and over the years, many researchers have complained about falling standards of English in Cameroon.

Statement of the Problem

pronoun usage in the past. In Cameroon particularly, there has been increasing concern about the falling standards of English (Fontem and Oyetade, 2005). This drop had equally been seen to be responsible for the general decline in the academic performance of students.

This study seeks to prove that there have been improvements in the effective use of pronouns with all the efforts put in by some researchers in the past years to improve the falling standards of English.

Research Questions

  • Do secondary school students distinguish between the objective and normative case forms?
  • Do they know when to use possessive/reflexive pronouns?
  • Do they know how to use pronouns to agree with their antecedents?

Objectives of the Study

The main and vital goal of this research is to investigate the way secondary school students of G.H.S Bokwango use pronouns.

The final goal is to identify the specific areas of difficulty for English language learners in Cameroon.

The study seeks to find out why students face problems in pronoun usage.

Pronoun Usage in Secondary Schools: The Case of Form Five Students in G.H.S Bokwango Buea

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