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The Use of English Prepositions by Francophone Students in the University of Buea

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Qualitative research
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Descriptive statistics
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This study seeks to look at the use of English Prepositions by Francophone Students in the University of Buea: A Case Study of Final Year Students in the Bilingual Degree Programme of the Academic Year 2014-2015.

The Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines a preposition as a word that is used before a noun, phrase or pronoun connecting it to another word.

Oxford Dictionary also defines it as a word or group of words such as in, front, to, out of and on behalf of, used before a noun or pronoun to show place, position, time or method.

This work is all about the use of English prepositions by level 500 students in the Bilingual degree program at the University of Buea. For example instead of saying I would like to insist on the fact that they say I would like to insist on the fact that…

Therefore after they have spent four years at the University of Buea, they are not still able to use properly the English prepositions. This first chapter will be based on the introduction of the study.

This will be done by giving some background information, some observation, the statement of the problem, the formulation of the hypothesis the aim and objectives of the study, the research questions, the significance of the study, the population of the study and finally the scope of the study.

Background of the Study

Cameroon has over two hundred and fifty-four indigenous languages with French and English as official languages. These languages were inherited from the formal colonial master that is Britain and France.

Ten regions comprise the Republic of Cameroon. Eight of them (Centre, West, Littoral, East, South, North, Far North, and the Adamawa) have the French language as their second language.

Cameroon is a member of La Francophone and the Common Wealth of Nation. The government has established many bilingual schools in an effort to teach both languages.

This is the reason why many francophone students come to study at the University of Buea, the first Anglo-Saxon University in Cameroon where lectures are done in English except the French studies programme.

Apart from these official languages we also have Cameroon Pidgin English (CPE), a lingua franca, mostly spoken by the people who live in the English speaking part of the country that is in the North West and the South-West regions of Cameroon.

It has become unofficially officialized in the sense that it is central to the lives of many Cameroonians especially those from the above-mentioned regions.

The English language plays a vital role in the world as far as education is concerned. That is why a good number of Francophone students seek admission every year to the University of Buea.

In spite of the fact that they become more and more interested in English, francophone students from the Bilingual degree programme still find it difficult to master well the English prepositions:

Statement of the Problem

Every researcher is motivated or pushed by one reason or another to make a choice of research work. Such reasons could be motivated through observation for a period of time.

It has been observed that francophone students in the bilingual degree program at the end of their programme are not able to use properly the English prepositions. For example, we have cases like:

  • My friends called me when I was in the home instead of saying my friend called me when I was at home
  • I am in the bus instead of I am On the bus.

From these above-mentioned examples, I find it interesting to carry my research on the use of English prepositions by the bilingual francophone level 500.


The first reason why those students do not master well English prepositions is that many of them do not have a firm background in English before coming to University such that three or four years of studies might not be enough to master a complex category as the prepositions.

The second reason is that the period of time allotted for their studies is not sufficient. And the third reason is that many or some prepositions in French are used in the place of three or four different prepositions in English and so the francophone background leaves them often confused. E.g. we the case of “de” which can be used as: from, of, about.

  • Voici la maison de Steeve= This is the house of Steeve
  • Je viens de Bamenda= I come from Bamenda
  • Nous parlons de monsieur Talla^ weare talking about

Aims and Objectives of the Study

The aim of this work is to provide facts on the wrong use of English prepositions by francophone students in the bilingual degree programmed at the University of Buea.

The first objective of this study is to give fact on the misusage of English prepositions by level 500 francophone in the bilingual degree program me.

The second objective is to know why they do not use well prepositions. After showing this through observation, recording and analysis we will propose solutions for this problem

Research Questions

Why do 500 level students in the bilingual degree program me cannot use well English ‘repositions?

Is it because they were not really been thought well?

Is it because they were influenced by the French?

What types of errors are made by those students?

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