Problems of English Auxiliaries among Students of Federal Polytechnic Oko
The English verb poses major difficulty to learners and users of English as a second language. Part of the problem lies on the interference relationship between the verb system in English and the verb system of the learner’s native language. For proper manipulation of the grammatical structure of the target language, however, the learner must be able to handle the various aspects of the verb effectively. The problem of the main verb in English is enormous but the difficulty of proper use of the auxiliary verbs is more complex since learners have to first distinguish between the main verb and the auxiliaries in terms of structure and function. Therefore, if the second language learner must be effective in the grammar of the English language, there is the need for him to have good knowledge of the verb system since the verb by its nature is problematic. The teacher and the learner should be conscious of this inevitable position of the verb and accord the teaching and learning of the English verb in general and its auxiliaries in particular the attention and seriousness they deserve. This research was therefore designed to examine the problems inherent in the English verb with particular reference to its auxiliaries. Descriptive method of data collection was used where a sample of the population was administered with written test to find out the level of efficiency in the use of verbs and auxiliary verbs, and to show how misuse could hinder effective communication. On the basis of the findings of this research, it was discovered that the students display confusion in the proper use of the English auxiliaries. Also they do not have clear knowledge of the verbal element. They find it very difficult to differentiate between the past forms of the auxiliary verbs and their modal equivalent. Another major problem in effective manipulation of verbs is the inherent structural irregularities within the verb system. Based on these findings, the following recommendations were made. Teachers of the English language in Nigerian schools should be encouraged by improving their initiatives through conferences and seminars in English language teaching. Again, the government and heads of schools should ensure that only graduate teachers and experts in English language are assigned the duty of teaching the English grammar. The study shows that it is only by identifying the problems and handling them effectively that learners and users of auxiliary verbs in English could improve their proficiency in the grammar of the language.
1.1 Background of the Study
The place of the English language as a language of compromise is well established as it serves as the only language that cuts across ethnic boundaries in Nigeria. It behooves learners, therefore, to do everything possible to learn it well and become competent in it. Accuracy in speech and writing makes effective understanding a reality. But wrong sentences or misuse of words can hinder communication. They can be likened to defective electric wiring which possesses a loose screw or an unsoldered joint that may simply break the circuit and obstruct the functioning of a machine or cause a short- circuiting that will burn down a building. The effect of bad English is quite similar to this. It may result in misunderstanding and may short–circuit the listener’s inflammable temper and lead to fire alarm. (Eyisi, 2003:11).
Problems of English Auxiliaries among Students of Federal Polytechnic, Oko
Writing is a crucial art in the process of learning a foreign language, like English, which has become the language of global communication. The ability to write clearly is essential for effective communication and critical to employment and production in the contemporary world. In the use of language both the spoken and written English are considered important for effective communication. Educators in Nigeria, as well as university and
polytechnic lecturers all over the country, have had some complaints ranging from poor quality of the writing of their graduates and misuse of the English auxiliaries among the students. They are currently faced with the challenge of adopting and developing a wide range of methods for effective teaching of English writing. This, of course, is not an easy task. Nothing gladdens the hearts of teachers more than the fact that their students are doing well in their subject areas. Teachers of English in Nigeria yearn to share in this joy.
Their usual concern is how to eliminate all the errors committed by their students, and so helps them speak and write English correctly (Eyisi, 2003:12). Unfortunately, in a second language situation, such as Nigeria, the errors became
multifarious with regards to the English auxiliaries because students study the target language against the background of their mother tongues in which they have attained a reasonable degree of competence. The verb is a major part of speech in English. Among the major parts of speech, the verb plays about the most important role in helping us to communicate our ideas. It is possible in some sentences for us to omit the other major parts of speech (Noun, Adjective or Adverb) without altering the meaning, but the omission of the verb produces a meaningless group of words.