THE DIFFICULTY IN THE STUDY OF VERBS BY SECOND LANGUAGE LEARNERS OF ENGLISH

THE DIFFICULTY IN THE STUDY OF VERBS BY SECOND LANGUAGE LEARNERS OF ENGLISH
THE DIFFICULTY IN THE STUDY OF VERBS BY SECOND LANGUAGE LEARNERS OF ENGLISH

THE DIFFICULTY IN THE STUDY OF VERBS BY SECOND LANGUAGE LEARNERS OF ENGLISH

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Abstract

This study was carried out to investigate the difficulty in the study of verbs by second language learners of English. In order to examine the problems, data were obtained through written tests and interview questions among the second language learners of English in secondary schools.

English language error analysis method was also used to justify the second language learners’ difficulty in the study of verbs. The study revealed several factors that posed difficulty to second language learners of English in the study of verbs. Such factors include the dynamics of verbs forms or inconsistency in verb forms accounts for part of the difficulties encountered by second language learners in the study of verbs.

Also, the contrast that exists between English and Ibibio lexical verbs pose problem to L2 learners of English. It was also revealed that the formation of regular and irregular verbs have posed problem to the L2 learners of English. Because in English, verb is inflected regularly or irregularly in its transformation to the simple past, whereas in Ibibio, the base form of the verb remains unchanged with a past tense marker prefixed. The L2 learners of English also have difficulties in the study of verbs in subject-verb agreement as the result of lack of basic knowledge of the rules of concord which is the foundation for proficiency in English grammar.

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1  Background to the Study

Language is seen as a fluid, dynamic and negotiable system and learning    it is as a result of the interaction and integration of a number of factors (Azikiwe 2023). Language has remained one of the   precious things that nature has endowed human beings with. The significance of this language is evident in the different purposes for which man uses it each day. There are various attempts from various scientists and   researchers to really give a concise definition of language. One of these persons who has been looked in Azikiwe (2023).

According to Locke: “Language is constituted of words and words are external signs which signify the inner thought of man”.

 

Hence, Locke upheld that man first of all has idea and this is expressed in words. Language, no matter the geographical region, it is used, made use of symbols that are vocal.

These symbols are that man first of all has idea, and this idea is expressed in words. Moreover, these symbols that constitute language verify from community to community.  But then, language is used by the Natives of the community it originates. It is termed “First language”.  This implies that it is the original language or the mother tongue of the people.

On the other hand, the language learnt and spoken by the people outside the community it originates is called the “second language”. Because of the significance of language to man, it has become imperative that users of language especially the second language which serves as the Lingua – Franca in most multi-Lingual communities take care to learn the rules and the aspects of  this language they use in order to achieve clarity and unambiquity while communicating.

 

THE DIFFICULTY IN THE STUDY OF VERBS BY SECOND LANGUAGE LEARNERS OF ENGLISH

Therefore, second language learning refers to the acquisition of a language once a first language has been learned; say after the age of two. However, in the Nigerian context, this happens to the majority at the age of six when the child goes to school for the first time.

The process of second language acquisition has been extensively researched by scholars in the various fields of applied and theoretical linguistics, psycho- linguistics and English as second language pedagogy.

According to Suring (2009: 190), in studying the second language effectively, the students need to apply rules regarding sentence structures, grammar and its mechanics Suring further states that apart from the issue of mother tongue interference, another problem encountered by the second language learners of English is the difficulty with subject verb agreement in both their writing and speaking English.

Majority of learners still have problem with their verb- subject agreement in their writing and speaking. In English language, the subject must agree with the verb.

 

English language being the second language in Nigeria must be studied in order to overcome some of the difficulties associated with the second language— English Language.

However, in the course of learning the elements of English language as a second language, certain problems are bound to occur.  These are even more prominent and sometimes inevitable when the learners’ mother –tongue contains somewhat contradictory features Vis a Vis of English language.

 

In a situation like this, deliberate effort needs to be made in ensuring that effective learning methods in the English language are provided for the second language learners and this gradually should help them to overcome difficulties expressed in the study of verbs in English language and to attain the English language proficiency and competence.

 

1.2     Statement of the Problem

The study of verbs in English language by the second language learners is often identified with certain problems. This is because English as a second language has its rules and grammatical elements whereby the learners should study.

The second language learners’ difficulties in the study of verbs often result in poor spoken English and grammatical errors. In reaction to this problem,  Obanga in Azikiwe (1998:25) laments that inspite    of the official and public emphasis on English, that the schools do not seem to be producing an adequate number ber of pupils who are sufficiently proficient in English.

 

The Performance of candidates in terminal examinations in English have never been satisfactory. Their understanding and use of English have not attained a standard considered reasonably by other users of English.  Lack of adequate knowledge of verbs and its rules in English grammar pose difficulty to second language learners of English.  Therefore, based on this problem, the researcher sought to examine the difficulty in the study of verbs by second language learners of English in Akwa Ibom State.

 

1.3   Purpose of the Study:

This study was designed in order to examine the difficulty in the study of verbs by second language learners of English in Akwa Ibom State.

It is also aimed at finding out the possible errors in subject-verb agreement made by second language learners, the second language learners’ difficulty in irregular verb tenses formation and as well as the learners’ problems in tenses formation in general.

 

1.4     Significance of the Study

This study intends to serve as an invaluable aid to second language learners of English who are still encountering problems in the study of verbs.

Also, it is poised to rendering a guide to any other person who is learning and using English as a second language. The solution to the difficulty in the study of verbs, the care taken in treating the grammatical rules –subject verbs agreement and how these rules could be applied in spoken and written English would help to reduce the grammatical blunders and errors made by the second language users.

 

1.5     Methodology

In order to obtain the data to asses the difficulty in the study of verbs encountered by the second language learners of English, written tests and interviews were conducted among the second language learners of English in Akwa Ibom State.

English language errors analysis method was used to justify the second language learners’ difficulty in the study of verbs.

 

1.6     Scope of the Study

The scope of this study will be centralized on the difficulty in the study of verbs by second language learners of English.

1.7    Research Questions

The following research questions are formulated to guide to the study:

  1. What are the difficulties encountered in the study of verbs by second language learners of English in Akwa Ibom State?
  2. What are the errors made by second language learners of English in subject verb agreement in English?
  3. What are learners’ problems in tenses formation?
  4. What are the second language learners’ difficulties in irregular verbs tenses formation?

 

1.8    Definition of Terms:

Verbs:  The word verb is a very important word class in any language.  It is a lexical item which denotes action, state of being and possession. A verb is the nucleus of sentence.

Second Language: This refers to a foreign language acquired rather than the learners’ native language.

 

Conclusion

From the findings, it is undeniable that the second language learners of English have so many problems or difficulties when it cones to the study verbs.

Therefore, from the data analyzed, the causes of the difficulty in the study of verbs by second language learners of English are not far-fetched. The dynamics of verbs forms or inconsistency in verb forms account for part of the difficulties encountered by learners in the study of verbs.

Also, the contrast that exists between English and Ibibio lexical verbs pose problems to L2 learners of English. The Ibibio lexical verbs have “the double word verbs” whereas English lexical verbs do not have.

Again, the Ibibio uses the same formation for the simple present, present progressive and the present perfect which are distinguished by tone and affixation process, while English  expresses these aspect distinctly. This makes the L2 learners of English to find difficulty in the study of lexical verbs in English.

 

Also, the formation of regular and irregular verbs have been observed to pose problems to the second language learners of English because in English, verb is inflected regularly or irregularly in its transformation to the simple past, whereas in Ibibio for instance, the base form of the verb remains unchanged with a past tense marker prefixed.

The Ibibio learners of English also find difficulty in the study of tenses of the verbs because in Ibibio, the simple past, past progressive and past perfect tenses of the verbs are expressed alike whereas in English, they are differentiated or distinguished.

The findings further revealed that Ibibio learners of English have difficulties in the study verb in subject-verb agreement because of lack of basic knowledge of the rules of concord, which is the foundation for proficiency in English grammar.

 

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