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The Problem Of Word Formation For The Second Language User Of English At Secondary School Level In Ikeduru L.G.A Of Imo State




This research work is on “The Problem of Word Formation for the Second Language User of English at Secondary School Level in Ikeduru L.G.A of Imo State with the purpose of finding out problems that hinders effective teaching of word formation in junior secondary schools and its possible causes in the area of study. In line with the above, four research questions guided the study. The researcher employed descriptive survey design. The study was precipitated by the dwindling academic performance of the students in Ikeduru Local government area of Imo State and the data collected revealed that the problem of word formation for second language users of English may be as a result of ineffective teaching and learning materials, unqualified teachers and poor staff management.  Based on the findings of the study, it is recommended that the government should contribute in the provision of teaching aids, and modern facilities to enhance learning and teachers should endeavor to user oral drills in their teaching methods.



1.1 The Background of the Study:

Words carry meaning and unlike sentences, which are made up, as needed and discarded, words are permanently stored in a speaker’s mental dictionary called lexicon.  The posit that words are “fundamental building blocks communication ” the average junior secondary school students in Ikeduru L.G.A knows about one thousand basic words items such as read, language on cold and if whose form and meaning cannot be predicted from anything else “O Grandy and Archibald (2009:109). These postulations will definitely refertothefrist language user of English to have amassed such quantum of words. But it is obvious that numerous other words can  be constructed and comprehended by the application of general rulers to these and other elements, for example, any speaker of English who knows the verbs phish fraudulently obtains sensitive information via email, recognized phished as its past tense form, and  can construct and interpret words such as phisher, phishing and unphishable. It therefore follows that if one is conversant with language can tinker with its word formation. The term morphology refers to that part of grammar that is concerned with words and words formation. This project will look at various ways words are formed in the English language.

Latin also was used in the church, law court, and various domain rule account for the suffusion of Latinate words in the English language even up till today, new words continue to enter the English language ,however this study is not basically on neologism but on how the acceptable and intelligible words of  English are formed . Morphemes “like syllable and sentences, words have an internal structure consisting of smaller units organized with respect to each other in a particular way. The most important components of word structure are the morpheme. The smallest unit of language that carries information about meaning or function.  The word ‘builder’ for example consist of two morphemes build with the meaning of construct and –er (which indicates that the entire word functions are a noun with the meaning one builds).

Another form of allomomrphic process is in the use of indefinite form. The morpheme ‘an’ is used for words that begin with vowel sounds like an eagle, an aeroplane, M. A (degree (em). You will notice that the choice of a/an is not based on spelling but on the pronunciation. That is why we have an M.A degree and we shall also find out why we have an European /j/ a bus, a cat, a donkey.

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Another example of allomorphic variation is found in the pronounciation but not in the but plural morphemes in words like pots, mats. These words and their like that end in (p, t, k) will yield /s/ in their pronunciation /kaets/ while words like dogs, bags, cabs, cards /beigz/ will yield /z/ in the pronunciation, these sounds are allomorphic to the same morpheme –s added to pluralize the sounds.

There is the third category /dz/, which we can have in judges, churches, clutches /dzaddz/, (Katamba 1994). Another type of allomorphic variation can be found in pairs of words such as permit/permissive, include/inclusive, electric/electricity and impress/impression. If these words are said aloud, the pronounciation or the consonant in the first morpheme changes when a suffix is added. It is important not to confuse spelling changes with allomorphic variation. For example, the final-e in the spelling of create and ride as dropped in creat-ive and rid-ing but this is not allomorphic variation. Megregor (2009:84) writes that in modern linguistics parts of speech are defined by grammatical behavior not meaning. Thus a word such as ‘seem’ can hardly be interpreted as denoting an event….

More also, colonization by the British was the root through which English language in Nigeria sprang up. Due to the multilingual nature of the country, the colonial masters introduced English in Nigeria for governance and educational purpose, since they were unable to interact with the Nigerian language. Around this period, the missionaries used the mother tongue of each ethnic group to teach them because they believed in reaching their adherents with it. The British intervened and changed this pattern through an educational ordinance of (6th May 1882) which regulated educational practice in West Africa and made English language, language of instruction and also one of the important subjects in school curriculum. Whereby they made English language of instruction, there is every tendency to teach English language seriously in our secondary schools so that students will be competent in the language.

Word formation aspects of English language normally brings a lot of problems to its learners especially in junior secondary school in Ikeduru LGA Imo State. This is due to certain reasons like the use of elements, groups and approaches. Previously, emphasis was placed only on spoken form of English while written form was totally ignored but now, positive steps have been taken by various ministries of education and examination bodies to correct this by having word formations.

Many problems which will be discussed later hinder the smooth teaching and learning of word formation. Due to this, the researcher intended to exploit these areas in relation to teaching and learning of word formation and suggested solutions of these problems. This will in effect help to improve the standard of word formation in one school especially at the junior secondary school level.

1.2 Statement of Problem

Since some words consist of a single morpheme, for example the word ‘train’ cannot be divided into smaller parts (say tr and ain or t and rain). O’grady and Archibald (2009:110) part of the word that carried information is the based and such words are said to be simple and are distinguished from complex words, which contains two or more morphemes. The challenges and prospects of the second language:

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One              Two             Three           More than three

Come           Com-es        hunt-er-s      e-du-ca-tion

Man             brother-s      reach-er-s     u-ni-ver-sity

Read            girl-s            lead-er-s       un-civi-li-zed

The intricate form of the morpheme may pose a challenge to the second language user of English. For instance, a morpheme that can stand as a word by itself is called free, whereas a morpheme that must be attached to another element is said to be bound. The word ‘books’ has the status of a word and can stand on its own. In this regard is a problem for the second language user of English to know what morpheme to attach to a word for it to the pluralized. The second language user may not know which article definite or indefinite (a/an) that can be attached to a word. Thus, this study will investigate these myriads of problems in the English word structure and do not have to be attached to another element e.g. head, leg, neck, chest, eye, stomach and others.

1.3 Aims and Objective of the Study

The major aim of the study is to investigate the numerous ways, words are formed in English and how the second language users of English can grapple with them. If a leader is one who leads and a teacher is one who teaches, a stretcher is not one who stretches. The word stretcher is an object and does not in anyway refer to a person. His language or word will be ill formed if he says that a stretcher is one who stretches. However, we know that the presence of –er in words is a productive process in English word formation. The use of the –er may signify the comparison in adjectives and adverbs etc, example will include tall, father, big – bigger, small- smaller. For adverbs, we have soon-sooner, near-nearer etc. the point to underscore is that although the presence of the –er morpheme can suggest the doer of a thing, it can also reflect comparative formation in adjective and adverb. It may just be the lexicon found in a word that is, part of the word. There are other forms of morpheme like the –ing. The –ing morpheme may have three synactive imports, for instance, it can apply as in the progressive aspects or continous tense as in:

  • Jean is playing a ball.
  • Mary is singing a song
  • Ada is reading a book

It may be a participle e.g. looking through the window, I saw cars passing at a great speed, or seeing the movement of the grass, John noticed a snake in the thicket.

Again, the –ing morpheme can be gerund as reflected in the following examples;

  • Swimming is a good hobby
  • Dancing can be one’s profession
  • Singing is a profitable business (Azubuike, 2004:60).

The fact that it is in the –ing morpheme does not imply that it is in the progressive aspect or the continuous tenses. This has often been the primary school teaching of the English language as teachers use the progressive aspect to illustrate the-ing morpheme.

1.3.1 The Purpose of the Study is:

  1. To find out the problem that hinders effective teaching and learning of word formation in junior secondary schools,
  2. To find out the possible causes of these problems
  3. To profer prospects of teaching and learning of word formation in junior secondary schools.
  4. The best ways of applying these prospects for effective teaching and learning.

1.4 Research Questions

  1. What are the problems that hinder effective teaching and learning of word formation in Junior Secondary Schools?
  2. What are the possible causes of these problems?
  3. Is there any hope for effective teaching and learning of word formation in Junior Secondary Schools?
  4. What are the chances of being successful in teaching and learning formation in Junior Secondary School?
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1.5 Justification of the Study

This study is significant in many varied ways. It is significant to underscore the formation of words in the English language to assist the second language user of the language. There are clear indications how certain words behave in the English language. Anyone conversant with the use of English words would find out that the word to precedes non-finite or infinitive verbs in English. The truism is that these groups of words cannot be anything but verbs: to go, to read, to play, to sing, to clap.

Nouns do not behave in this way. These acclaimed nouns like teacher, learner, player, singer, cannot attract ‘er’ morpheme without being ill formed. For instance,

  • To teacher
  • To leader
  • To singer
  • To player

This yardstick can help the second language user of the language to underscore statements. Again, we observe that if we try to add these words, they will be ill-formed because they are nominalized;

  • To nationalism
  • To secularism
  • To imperialism

The different groups of people to benefit from the research work are;

  1. The learners
  2. The teachers
  3. The society

1.6 Area of Study

The study is carried out in Junior Secondary Schools in Ikeduru, Imo State. The schools are;

  1. Attah Girls Secondary School, Atta Ikeduru
  2. Comprehensive Secondary School Ngugo, Ikeduru.
  3. Akabo High School, Akabo, Ikeduru.

These schools were chosen because one is a girl’s school and other two are mixed i.e. both boys and girls. I chose JSS 1-3 classes because they are the junior and exam classes.

1.7 Scope of the Study

This study investigates the presence of morphemes in the formation of the words. It will be cumbersome to get all forms of word formation which will include Affixes, borrowings, languages, clippings, claque suffice it to say that we shall delimit our study to the use of affixes in the formation of new words in the English language.

The scope of the study covers prefixes and suffixes in the formation of English words. It will consider such prefixes as “a” in a moral, a social, a political, a sexual, abnegation, unkind, ill-mannered, illiteracy, ill-redeemable etc. Then on the suffix side, we will be looking at –s, -es, -ies, -en, -ity, -ly, -ed, -ism, -eous and a host of others which can make or mar the acquisition and or usage of words in the English language.

Conversely, there are also some bound forms in English languages whose counterparts in other languages are free, for example, the notion ‘past’ or ‘completed’ is expressed by the bound morpheme –ed in English as in: I washed the car or a washed car, by the free morpheme.

1.8 Limitations of the Study

This study is limited to second language users of English in Ikeduru Local Government Area. The target is on Junior Secondary Schools Ikeduru.

Owing to time and availability of resources, the researcher decided to sample the users of English that are found in Ikeduru.

Pages:  60

Category: Project

Format:  Word & PDF              

Chapters: 1-5                                 

Material contains Table of Content, Abstract and References.


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