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Keywords: DEMOGRAPHIC VARIABLES AND THE USE OF ENGLISH BY NIGERIANS
This study provides an overview on the influence of demographic variables of sex, age, educational level and religion on the use of English. In obtaining the relevant data for this research work, close ended questionnaire was used to gather information. A total of 350 questionnaire was administered on the educated indigene of Ila LGA in Osun state, 326 questionnaire was properly fill and returned. The questions were of two section, first was to know the view of people on the influence of sex, age, educational level and religion while the other section of the questionnaire deals with Diversities in the Use of English Manifestations in Phonology, Morphology, Syntax and semantics. Chi square (χ2) was used to test for hypothesis under 0.05 level of significance.
It was observed that the people of Ila local government are well educated and exposed, which affects their use of English both in public and private places.
However analysis from this research concludes that age, sex, educational level and religion has a great influence on the methods and variety of English spoken in Ila local government.
The study therefore recommend that The national gender monitoring system in the primary school sector should be strengthened at policy level, appropriate educational resources mobilized and allocated transparently and equitably distributed to boys and girls in school. Such a development will strategically put primary school boys and girls on an equal footing regarding academic performance and achievement also social institutions particularly the home and school should not expose boys and girls to differential socialization system, as treating them the same will serve to foster equal opportunities in academic performance
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
2.0 LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 CONCEPTUAL CLARIFICATION
2.2 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
2.3 EMPIRICAL REVIEW
2.4 SUMMARY OF LITERATURE REVIEW
3.0 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.1 RESEARCH DESIGN
3.2 AREA OF STUDY
3.3 POPULATION OF THE STUDY
3.4 RESEARCH SAMPLE AND SAMPLING TECHNIQUE
3.5 INSTRUMENT FOR DATA COLLECTION
3.6 VALIDITY OF THE INSTRUMENT
3.7 METHOD OF DATA COLLECTION
3.8 METHOD OF DATA ANALYSIS
4.0 DATA ANALYSIS AND PRESENTATION
5.0 SUMMARY OF FINDINGS, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
5.5 SUGGESTION FOR FUTHER STUDY
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
English has come a long way in Nigeria. The language came with colonialism in the mid-nineteenth century. Before English became a missionary potent tool of colonial interaction, the European missionaries had found it heritage necessary to converse with the natives, and to convert them from ‘paganism’ to Christianity. Thus, the need to have catechists, mass-servers, and other church officials who understood and spoke the language of the white man compelled the early missionaries to teach new converts the language of the new religion. Sylvester (2004). English has assumed a great importance and performs various functions in Nigeria. It has continued to serve as an official and second language in Nigeria. Besides the official language it plays in communication, it is also regarded as a ‘Language of Unity’ because more than any other language, it is more frequently used in intertribal and social communication. Omodiaugbe (2008). The colonizers did not only introduce and implant the English language; they also brought along with it the introduction of formal education to Nigeria. Ogu (2002) records that the colonial administrators trained the natives as clerks, messengers, interpreters, etc. for administrative conveniences while the missionaries established schools to teach their converts to be able to read the Bible. Fagbulu (2002) points out that in 1842, De craft and his wife established a home school in Badagry not only for training converts to be able to read and write but also to read and understand the Bible. In all these, English was the language of instruction and has ever since continued to function as such in both public and private schools in Nigeria. According to Lambo (2002), the history of teaching, learning and use of the English Language cannot be divorced from the history of education in Nigeria. As schools were established both by the colonial administrators and the missionaries, English was used as the language of instruction. However, it was with the proclamation of the 1882 Education Ordinance that English was officially declared the language of instruction in schools. This declaration raised the status of English. The status was even raised higher with the 1926 Education Ordinance which made certification in English.
In Nigeria, the National Education Policy (NPE), formulated in 1977 and revised in 1981, 1998 and 2004, assigns to English the role of serving as the language of instruction from the fourth year of a six-year primary course to the tertiary level. In addition, English is to be taught as a school subject right from the first year of primary education. The constitution has a clause which recognizes one of Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba (the languages of the larger ethnic groups in Nigeria) as an additional language of official proceedings in the federal legislature in addition to English as soon as the implementation is feasible. To this effect, secondary school students are encouraged to learn one of these three Nigerian languages in addition to their mother tongues and English, if one of the three languages is not their mother tongue. Udofot (2009) has shown that the Nigerian speaker hardly uses stress but tone and word boundary lowering, which gives the impression of pitch accent and shifting of stress to English ears. It can, therefore, be suggested that the Nigerian English speaker hardly uses stress the way it is understood by speakers of Germanic languages but, more or less, uses tone the way it is used in Nigerian languages. Also, vocalic intervals alone may not be conclusive evidence of syllable timing since, as in this study, full and reduced vowels do not necessarily correlate with high and low tones. Although many studies in Nigerian English prosody note the presence of more stressed words/syllables in Nigerian English than there would be in a native English version, the basic assumption in this paper is that the speaker of Nigerian English does not really represent the accents in terms of the pitch accents of West Germanic languages but in the word tone patterns where each such pattern sounds like a pitch accent to English ears. For instance, the compounds ‘everyone’ and ‘anyone’ have word boundary lowering between ‘every’ and ‘one’; ‘any’ and ‘one’ causing the words to sound like everyone and anyone rather than the native speaker’s Everyone and Anyone. With regard to intonation, it has been shown by Gussenhoven and Udofot’s (2009) study of Standard Nigerian English, which confirms an earlier finding by Gut’s (2002:176-177), that Nigerian English speech rhythm is similar to Singaporean English with regard to the proportion of vocalic intervals and stands between stress-timed intonation language and a tone language.
English functions across the world as the language of power and of inclusion and exclusion in participation in global activities. Babajide (2002) has pointed out that the fast developing technologies have literarily broken down the boundary walls of nature and we now live in a world of globalized economy, academy, and polity and information flow. In this setting, English is the medium of interaction between individuals and nations. According to him, ‘for any nation particularly in the third world to be relevant and derive the maximum benefit from the opportunities that abound in every area of human need, for personal advancement and national development, English is a sine qua non. Babajide (2002) further said that up to date, the country is still faced with the dilemma of selecting an indigenous language that will foster socio-economic interaction among the diverse linguistic and cultural groups in the country and at the same time promote national unity. Till the dilemma is cleared, English will still remain the official language in all the official domains, including education, in Nigeria.
Third quarter of the world’s mail is written in English; while 80% of the world’s electronically stored information is done in English. Of the estimated 40 million users of the internet, the majority of its users communicate in English, (Asoba, 2000). Nigeria as a country has its own variety of English which differs from that of other countries. On investigation of the English language in Nigeria thus far, there is no doubt that there is Nigerian English. Adeniran (2005) says that academic considerations of the status of Nigerian English (NE) have established the distinctiveness of this dialect of the language and taken perceptions of its existence beyond the realm of fiction. Bamgbose (2008) says that, the debate over whether NE exists has by now become a non-issue as features of instances of its spoken and written forms have been described and the descriptions published in outlets within and outside its territory. Ekpe (2007) writes extensively in the emerging evolutionary of world English and the varieties that have developed especially in Nigerian English, which he says English as a global language has developed many varieties (ranging from standard, non-standard, dialect, national, regional, Creole, hybrid, pidgin, rotten to broken.
English learning and culture are inseparable; Language and culture are closely related. Culture is simply the way of life of a people or society. The relationship between language and culture is important in a consideration of effective English communication especially in the Nigerian context. The reason is that the use of English in Nigeria cuts across ethnic boundaries as each of the ethnic groups has distinct traditional languages and ethnic traditions. Language is not only used as a means of communication, but also as a marker or indicator to the speaker’s cultural identity. The identity is communicated through a particular language use during interaction (discourse markers). Certain types of expressions are used to express belonging to a group, but likewise they are sometimes used to exclude, separate or discriminate Esther (2016). According to Gudykunst & Kim (2003), it is argued that: Our cultures influence our behavior directly through the norms and rules we use to guide our behavior when we interact with others. Our cultures also indirectly affect our communication through individual characteristics. We learn when we are socialized into our cultures. Language either in its spoken or written form is the medium through which culture is expressed, transmitted from one generation to the other, or reserved for present and future generations. The dressing patterns, habits, different types of food and their modes of preparation, expressing joy or sorrow, hatred or anger, among others, are transmitted through the language of the group. We have to point out that the richer the culture, the richer the language that expresses that culture. Again, language is man’s most prized possession. It is his major vehicle for self-expression and a mark of his personal and group identity. Language is an integral component and at the same time a product of culture, like culture itself, it is learned behavior which can be facilitated or enhanced through direct or indirect context and acculturation.
English language did not come to Nigeria just on its own. Its incursion into Nigeria was caused by lots of factors like trading, slavery, colonization and missionary activities in Nigeria by the Europeans and this was done in phases. As such, English as a language is a borrowed blanket which has been converted to a personal use by the borrowers so as to suit their purpose. This research work therefore will find out how speakers of English language in Ila Local Government are influenced by the demographic variables age, sex and educational level in their use of the language.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Language is not studied in isolation but within a social setting as such language cannot be divorced from the society using that language. this is what sociolinguistics focuses on sociolinguistics is the study of language in relation to social factors such as social class, educational level, age, sex, ethnic, origin etc. it is well known fact that differences in language are tied to so many factors like education, class, age, sex, ethnic background, culture and perhaps style which Yule (2002:240) calls ‘social dialects’.
Use of correct English has always been a major problem that many Nigerian learners of English encounter. Some students would skip school because of their poor achievement in English. Sometimes they hinder the teaching-learning process in the classroom which usually ends in hating the English teacher and may be the whole school. English language teaching and learning process is affected by many factors and variables, mainly socioeconomic, extracurricular, and attitudinal. For example, it is widely believed that families first born children receive more attention and care from their parents; children whose parents are good at or speak English are usually good learners of English; and those who live in their own houses have a sense of stability and social security which help them learn better.
The social consequences of English language in Nigeria is that its presences in Nigeria has caused a lot of changes and these changes come in form of difference in usage according to the social class of the speakers, geographical location of the speakers, occupation of the speakers, age differences of the speakers, and sex differences. Thus, the need to examine fully, the demographic variables responsible for the variations in the use of English with specific reference to Ila Local Government Area.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main objectives of the study is to give an analysis of demographic variable on the use of English language in Ila Local Government with the purpose of explaining the variation or varieties of English in Nigeria used by speakers in Ila Local Government. This study therefore intend to achieve the following specific objectives which are to:
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTION
From the above objectives, the following questions which the study intends to proffer solutions to be raised:
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
The following research hypotheses were formulated as guide to the study and they are:
Ho1: Male and females subject do not differ significantly in their proficiency in English
Ho2: There is no significant difference in the degree of proficiency of our subjects in English language based on their Age.
Ho3: Educational level will not significantly impact in the degree of proficiency of our subject in English language.
Ho4: There is no significance influence of religion on the use of English in Ila LGA
1.6 JUSTIFICATION OF THE STUDY
It should be noted that language is needed in all areas of Human life. When we talk about the domains of language, roughly we mean the fields or areas of activities of language use. The fields or areas of activities of language use as well as the intensity of use determine the status accorded the language. Therefore, the status accorded a language is not inherently linguistic. This is to say that language status is determine by factors other than linguistic. Linguistically, there is no language that is superior to another. But social, political, historical, economic demographic e.t.c factors will spell the status given to a language.
Keywords: DEMOGRAPHIC VARIABLES AND THE USE OF ENGLISH BY NIGERIANS