Problems of Tense Errors in English among Senior Secondary School Students
This study examined problems of tense error in English among senior secondary school students in Essien Udim Local Government Area. To direct the study, three research questions were formulated. The population comprised all the senior secondary two (SS2) students. A total of five public secondary schools were sampled out of nine (9) in the study area and two hundred (200) sample size using simple random sampling techniques. Data were collected using questionnaire entitled: “Problems of Tenses Error in English Questionnaire (PTEEQ). The data were analyzed using simple percentage. Based on the findings of the study, it was recommended that students should avoid the use of slang in public places and also, media agencies should include programmes that create awareness to the public on the effect of tense errors.
1.1 Background to the Study
Tenses refer to the form of a verb in English language that clearly indicates time. Tenses are used to show specification; therefore, it can be concluded that without verbs there will be tenses as tenses in grammar does not only refer to time but also the action of the verb or state of being at a given moment.
Tenses make known events that happen at present (present tense), an event that happened some moment in the “past” (past tense) and the event that will happen in “future” (future tense). Tense is seen when there is communication between two or more persons.
Communication therefore defined as the process or act of expressing ideas and feelings to one another or a process of giving out information to people.
Language as a medium of human communication, socialization, civilization and development has been a full-length treatment by linguists. They had devised ways of making it easier to analyze and describe it so as to present a true and full structure of any definition given. However, the attempt to describe and study language gave rise to a number of schools of linguists; all of which developed from the same root of traditional grammar. According to Sidney Green Baum (2010) grammar is a general theory of language description. It is the properties and the processes that underlie the use of language. By implication, the user of language (speakers) are expected to be equipped with the knowledge of the rules of the language they intend to speak and apply them properly when using them specifically, tense arrangement and medications.
Problems of Tense Errors in English among Senior Secondary School Students
Traditionally, grammar precedes what is now regarded as a scientific approach to all study of language. Its approach is one that is normative definition oriented and prescriptive in nature. It represents an attempt to prescribe rules for language use. The correctness in the use of language is worth of not to identify what the speakers actually say. It is indeed the correctness of the traditional grammar that has made it to always prescribe what sort of language is right to be used.
Such terms as noun, verb, adverb, preposition, object, subject and others and of course, tenses are derived from the traditional grammar and are used to analyze sentences. Interestingly, grammatical terms in English language are widely used in our schools ranging from primary schools to tertiary institutions. But however, there are some true elements of errors in medication in English language among secondary school students. This has given rise to the following question; what are the problems of tense errors in English language among secondary school students? This has formed the aim of this study in EssienUdim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
When students of secondary school speak English, especially students in Essien Udim Local Government Area, they tend to make mistakes and errors in their usage of English language tenses. This has contributed to poor academic achievement in English language in internal and external examinations, despite the effort of government in employing qualified teachers into the school system. It is the level of these problems that has prompted the researcher to investigate the problems of tense errors in English language among senior secondary school students in Essien Udim Local Government Area with the aim of highlighting the causes as well as the features and also the gateway of solving this problem.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to investigate problems of tense errors in English among senior secondary school students in Essien Udim Local Government Area.
Specifically, the study sought to:
- Examine the necessary factors that result to the misuse of tenses in English language among senior secondary school students in Essien Udim Local Government Area.
- Investigate the possible mother-tongue interference among the senior students’ use of tenses in English language in Essien Udim Local Government Area.
- Investigate the necessary tense errors that are most prevalent among the senior students’ use of the tense in English language in Essien Udim Local Government Area.
1.4 Significance of the Study
This study is important because firstly, it will help students to be aware of their grammatical problems and have them conscious of their usage when they speak English in order to improve on their problems.
This study will help to encourage the teachers to observe and correct their English students when they are using the language incorrectly.
1.5 Research Questions
The following research questions were asked to guide the study based on the research objectives.
- What are the factors that result to the misuse of tenses in English language among senior secondary students in Essien Udim Local Government Area?
- Does mother-tongue has any interference in the use of tense in English language among the senior students in Essien Udim Local Government Area?
- Does the use of slangs most prevalent among senior students’ uses of tense in English language in Essien Udim Local Government Area?
1.6 Limitation of the Study
The scope of this study was limited because of the following factors:
Financial constraint: Inadequate financial resources challenged the successful completion of this work, as area where finance were needed in order to gather materials and to help bind the study together were not immediately available.
Time constraint: Not enough researchers have delved into this area of research; sequel to this enough time was needed for gathering of facts and completion of the research work. The time allotted for lecturers too. So, this affected the timely rounding up of this research work.
1.7 Delimitation of the Study
This study was delimited to Akwa Ibom State, precisely Essien Udim Local Government Area. The target population is the senior secondary school students. The study been conducted in Essien Udim Local Government Area has delimited the generalization of the result of findings of the work to other part of the state (Akwa Ibom State).
1.8 Definition of Terms
The uses of terms in this study are defined as follows:
Tenses: Tenses refers to the form of a verb in English language that is clearly indicates time.
Errors: Errors are consistently deviant production of forms that would have been rendered differently by a competent speaker of the target language.
Tense errors: Tense errors, the students learning English often make mistakes and commit errors while learning English specially when they try to arrange sentences or use tenses while writing.
Mother tongue: Mother tongue is language that a person has exposed to from birth or within critical period.