Research Key

The Use of Phrasal Verbs by University of Buea Students: The Case Study of 400 Level Students of the English Department for 2015/2016 Academic Year

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International: $20
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Qualitative research
Analytical tool
Descriptive statistics
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This research set out to investigate the use of phrasal verbs by the university of Buea students. To find out the reasons why phrasal verbs are wrongly used and why students misuse phrasal verbs. Data were collected through observation and group discussions.

The analysis revealed that there is a causal relationship between knowledge and exposure on the one hand and the use of phrasal verb on the other because of knowledge.

It was also noticed that the overall performance during the observation and group discussion was not bad because the majority of the student has a certain level of mastery of phrasal verb.



Background of the Study

The English language is one of the most widely spread languages in the world today. It is spoken as a first language by more than three hundred million people throughout the world and used as a second language by as many if not more than one-fifth of the world’s population speaks English with some degree of competence. It is an official or semi-official language in several countries and it plays a significant role in many more.

This language has earned the status of international language as a result of colonization in the 1880s as it now occupies the status of an official language alongside French. In addition to these two official languages, multilingual Cameroon also has some 247 indigenous languages and one lingua franca, Cameroon pidgin(Etchu,2004). It is worthy to note that it is standard British English language that is supposed to be taught in Cameroon.

It is difficult as it may seem but not impossible to operate conveniently in today’s global context without English. Its prestigious stance is evident in the world of science and technology, the language of automation, the internet at international seminars, conference, and diplomatic circles to mention but these few.

In the University of Buea, where this research is carried out, English is the main language of instruction, communication and all official matters, though students being who they are often relate with one another in pidgin English. Despite the prominent position of English in the educational life of the University of Buea many students face difficulties.

Although students of the English studying for a degree in the English language have had an English language exposure through education and the environment, they nonetheless face great difficulties when they speak or write English; one of such areas where their difficulty is glaring is the mastery of phrasal verbs.

Ngefac (2010)asserts that the “twist and turns” that the English language has undergone in Cameroon are a result of the “ecological, sociolinguistics and cultural realities of this post-colonial multilingual setting”

Moreover, looking at the pedagogical level, the teaching of English Cameroon leaves much to be desired. Some inexperienced teachers teach English without the mastery of the language and also their teaching methods and skills. Thus a poor foundation in the area of mastery and the use of parts of speech tends to disrupt the student correct use of the language.

The rapid spread and dominance of pidgin English at the informal level in the English speaking region of Cameroon (North West and South West) have been one of the major factors responsible for the decline of English.

At the moment its influence is so flat in several major towns of the Francophone regions. Etchu (2004), asserts that “Cameroon Pidgin English is no longer perceived exclusively as a Lingua Franca of the English speaking population, but a language that has a possible national dimension.”

In urban as well as rural areas, it is used in churches, markets places, car parks, railways stations, bus stops, streets and in many other informal settings. In teaching, this negativity spills over to learners especially as English remains one of the languages of instruction in academic circles in Cameroon.

To learn a language like English, the four skills should be mastered: Listening, speaking, reading, and writing. It is therefore relevant to find out if a good or poor mastery of English, phrasal verbs, preposition and verbs would have an impact on their use either positively or negatively.

Statement of the Problem

Given the importance of the English language in Cameroon and the world as a whole, it is important that speakers have a good mastery of the use of phrasal verbs. This is however not the case.

Researchers have observed that the proficiency of University of Buea students speaking English has suffered a decline in recent years while accusing fingers have been pointed in several directions, it is important to identify the areas of difficulties that University of Buea students encounter when using phrasal verbs, which are the misuse of phrasal verbs and some wrong usage of phrasal verbs.

After listening to many students discussions, I observed that they are faced with the problems mention above. This has prompted me to carry this research.

Aims and Objectives of the Study

The main aims and objectives of this research p reject are to examine the use of phrasal verbs by University of Buea students.

  • The ultimate reason is to identify the areas of phrasal verbs usage that are most challenging/problematic for the University of Buea students.
  • It also seeks to describe the relationships between the academics orientation of students and mastery of phrasal verbs amongst in departments like English, Linguistics, English and French.
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