COMPETENCE AND PERFORMANCE IN THE USE OF IRREGULAR VERBS BY SELECTED SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS

ABSTRACT
          It
is believed by linguists that the Irregularities of the English lexical and
primary auxiliary verbs are among the causes of the poor performance by the
senior secondary schools students in the written English. This study,
Competence and performance in the use of Irregular verbs by selected Senior
Secondary Schools Students in Ikere local government area of Ekiti state,
identified how the S.S.3 Students in Ikere Ekiti used Irregular lexical and
primary auxiliary verbs in the written English. The objective and written essay
tests were the instruments used in the data collection. The research questions
were answered using frequency counting and the hypothesis were tested using r
Pearson at 0.05 level of significance. The result of the tested hypothesis
indicated that there was no significant relationship between the use of
Irregular lexical and primary auxiliary verbs on both objective and the written
essay and the performance as r calculated is greater than r critical. However,
Irregular lexical verbs are more difficult than the Irregular primary auxiliary
verbs in the objective test. Practice based approach should be used to teach
Irregular verbs, WAEC and NECO should set questions on Irregular verbs; The use
of effective teaching strategies are among the possible remedies offered that
could eliminate the problem of Irregular lexical and auxiliary verbs at the
Secondary Schools level.



TABLE OF CONTENTS
TITLE PAGE                                                                                  
CERTIFICATION                                                                                    
APPROVAL PAGE                                                                     
DEDICATION                                                                                
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT                                                              
ABSTRACT                                                                                  
TABLE OF CONTENTS                                                                          
CHAPTER
ONE:
INTRODUCTION                                             
1.1.        
Background to the study                                                               
1.2.        
Statement of the problem                                                     
1.3.        
Objectives of the study                                                         
1.4.        
Research questions                                                               
1.5.        
Research Hypothesis                                                             
1.6.        
Significance of the study                                                                  
1.7.        
Scope and Delimitation                                                         
CHAPTER
TWO:

REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
2.1.    Introduction                                                                          
2.2.    Concept of Competence and Performance                            
2.3.    The concept of Irregularity of English                                
2.4.    An overview of Irregular verbs                                                        
2.5.    Theoretical framework                                                         
2.6.    Summary of review of related literature                                
CHAPTER
THREE:
RESEARCH  METHODOLOGY
 3.1.   Introduction
                                                                         
3.2.    Research design                                                                    
3.3.    Population for the study                                                                  
3.4.    Sample size and sampling procedure                                              
3.5.    Instruments for data collection                                                        
3.6.    Validity and reliability of the instruments                              
3.7.    Procedure for data collection                                              
3.8.    Procedure for data analysis                                                
CHAPTER
FOUR:
DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS OF FINDINGS
4.1.    Introduction                                                                          
4.2.    Analysis of research questions                                                         
4.3.    Hypothesis Testing                                                               
4.4.    Discussion of Findings                                                          
4.5.    Implication of findings                                                           
CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY,
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5.1.    Introduction                                                                                     
5.2.    Summary of the work                                                           
5.3.    Conclusion                                                                          
5.4.    Recommendations                                                                        
          References                                                                               
          Appendices                  
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 CHAPTER
ONE
INTRODUCTION
1.1.          
Background
to the Study
            It is known by the linguists English
language is not consistent in some of its linguistic items. These include
Irregular verbs, Irregular plural formation of some nouns, inconsistencies
between spelling and pronunciation of some words. It could be said that these
inconsistencies which occur in English may be influenced by the fact that the
English language derived most of its linguistic terms from Greek and Latin.
Accordingly, variation in English, British and American form of usages in
particular, citing an example where       
                     Quirk, (2002:
111) states that “American English uses the regular form of the past and past
participles of the verbs “learn” and “burn” as “learned” and “burned”. But
British English favours the Irregular past participles of the verbs “learn” and
“burn” as “learnt” and “burnt”.
            Similarly, it is hard if not
impossible for the learners of English as a second language to use English as
the native speakers of the language.  The
statement could be related to “If you learn a second language, you have to
memorize its words and learn its rules. That is why learning a second language
can be difficult”. This is to say there are no two different languages that are
exactly the same in their linguistic features which include Phonology (the
study of sound system) Morphology (system of words formation), Syntax (patterns
of words arrangement), and Semantics (study of linguistics meaning of words,
sentences and grammatical relation). Jones (1986), gave an example of the
English word “brother” which in the Sanskrit language is written as “bhater”
Latin as “frater” and “phrater” in Greek, which all refers to “brother” in
terms of meaning. However, looking at these words, one could easily understand
that morphologically they are different. This means, the issue of language
universals does not mean having exactness of the linguistic items of two different
languages, rather it means having some common language features, such as, word
classes, sentences, phrases, which enable the native speakers of a given
language to express themselves. As Yule (2005: 248) states “while many
linguists have recognized the extend languages are subject to variation, they
have also noted the extent to which all languages have common properties.
“Those common properties, called language universals”. Therefore, Irregular
verbs are the major concern of this research and are part of these English
Irregularities are said to be problematic to the learners of English as a
second language, Ayandele (2010:7), defined Irregular verbs as the verbs which “yield
their past forms when vowels are changed or left unchanged”. They do not take
–ed or –d. Also, Ataman (2002:16) explains that, “Irregular verbs are not
consistent in form when tense changes as in tear – tore – torn”. Based on these
quoted definitions of Irregular verbs, it could be said that these are verbs
which ignore the rules of forming the past and past participle forms by adding–ed
or –d to the verb base as the regular verbs do. They form the past and past
participle forms by using different inflectional applications which are said to
be confusing.
            Nesbitt (2001: 18), Hellen (1985:
47) and Grieve (1970: 144) believe that Irregular verbs “are somewhat
confusing, a bit more complicated than nouns and you must learn their form
three”. Here, it has been made clear that the Irregular verbs of English are
problematic to the learners of English, which in turn affect their written
English performance in the continuous classroom exercises, assignments, tests
and terminal examinations. The Irregularity of verbs gives a wide gap in our
knowledge. The curriculum and teaching strategies for Irregular verbs designed
in this study could be used to bridge the gap. Besides, it could be said that
similar research to this researches were carried out previously on the topics
which are related to verbs, such as, Alobo (2005), Aliyu (2011). However,
conducting this research at this time is also important because it could be
different from the previous ones in terms of approach, illustration, subjects
and instruments. This research work will cover the aspects of irregular lexical
verbs and irregular primary auxiliary verbs which affect the writer English performance
of the S.S.3 students of the Senior Secondary schools in Ikere Local government
area, so that the difficulties they face in the use of irregular verbs could be
minimized. This hopefully may result in the improvement of their writer English
performance.
1.2. Statement of the problem
            It could be said that the learners
of English as a second language, the S.S.3 students of the Senior Secondary
Schools in Ikere Local Government area in particular sulter from the English
irregularities, such as, the irregular verbs (lexical and primary auxiliary
verbs) which results in their poor performance when writing in English during
their classroom exercises, tests and terminal examinations. Also, it is assumed
that regular verbs could be easily and effectively learned because of their
definite system in the formation of their past and past participle forms. That
is, by adding simple-ed or or –d to the infinitive (verbs base) form which is
contrary to the irregular verbs. Accordingly, transfer of knowledge of the regular
verbs past and past participle formation by the students to irregular verbs
which is wrong is a also a problem and results in the poor performance in
students written English. Likewise, variation between British and America forms
of irregular verbs confuses the students which make their written English poor.
 Also, the students who learn English
find the use of irregular verbs difficult because the English language is not
their mother tongue (L1).
            Moreover, infrequent use of a
Standard English dictionary by students to misuse irregular verbs which in turn
results their poor performance in the written essay. This is to say the
irregularities of English Lexical and auxiliary verbs affect the written
English performance of the Senior Secondary school students.
1.3.
Objectives of the study
           Broadly,
this study is aimed at determining how the learning and using of the English
irregular verbs affect the written performances of the students in English.
            Specifically, the study has these
objectives:
i)                  
To find out the type of difficulties
that the Irregular lexical and auxiliary verbs use, pose to the performance of
the S.S.3 students.
ii)               
To identify which verbs are more
difficult to use by the Students between the Irregular primary auxiliary verbs
in the multiple choice test.
iii)             
To find out the relationship between
competence and performance in the irregular verbs use in students written
English.
 1.4.
Research Questions
             
From the objectives stated, the following research
questions were raised:
i)      
  What are the difficulties that Irregular
lexical and primary auxiliary verbs use, pose to the performance of the S.S.3 Students?
ii)   
  Which verbs are more difficult to use by Students
between the Irregular lexical verbs and irregular primary auxiliary verbs in
the multiple choice test?
iii) 
   Is there any relationship between competence
and performance in the students essay writing?
1.5.
Research Hypothesis 
            Based on the specific objectives in
this research, the following null hypothesis were tested:
i)      
 There is no significant relationship between
the English irregular lexical verbs use in the written English and performance
of the S.S.3 students in the selected Senior Secondary Schools in Ikere local
Government area.
ii)   
   There is no significant relationship between
the use of English Irregular primary auxiliary verbs in the objective test and
performance of the S.S.3 Students in the selected Senior Secondary schools in
Ikere local government area.
iii) 
   There is no Significant relationship between
competence and performance of students in the use of Irregular lexical verbs in
the objective and students essay of the S.S.3 students in the selected Senior
Secondary Schools in  Ikere local
government area.
1.6.
Significance of the study
            This research attempts to find out
the relationship between the use of English irregular lexical verbs and primary
auxiliary verbs in the written English and performance of the S.S 3 students in
some selected senior secondary schools in Ikere local Government area.
            In particular, the study could benefit
the following people: student, Researcher and Curriculum planner. The students
could benefit from the study in their learning and using the irregular lexical
verbs and primary auxiliary verbs in their written English, through identifying
and using the correct form of verbs. It could also benefit the future
researchers who have similar topic in the review of previous studies especially
on the title of the topic, instrument, results and making of critique.
            The study could also be used an
additional guide by the curriculum planners by stressing that such verb forms
should be taught with series of activities because of their irregularity and
suggest that fill in the blank and essay writing test should be among the testing
instruments of these topics. Sociolinguistically, the users of English as a
second language could benefit from this study by identifying and using the
right form of verbs for effective communication both in spoken and written
forms.
 1.7. Scope and
Delimitation
           The fact that the inconsistencies of
the English Language occur in both spoken and written forms, this study is
delimited to the grammar component, Irregular lexical and irregular primary
auxiliary verbs in particular which affect the written English performance of
the learner of English.
           Also, in terms of population, it is
delimited to the S.S 3 student of some selected Senior Secondary Schools in
Ikere local Government area.
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