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Prepositional Errors and Effective Communication among Students of College of Education

Prepositional Errors and Effective Communication among Students of College of Education 

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Abstract

The study was conducted to investigate the prepositional errors and effective communication among students of College of Education, Afaha Nsit. Three research questions were formulated to guide the study. The survey research design was adopted in the study. The population comprised of one hundred and seventy seven (177) English students in the 2021/2022 academic session.

A sample size of fifty (50) NCE II students in the 2021/2022 academic session was selected through random sampling technique. The instruments used in gathering the needed data for the study were a questionnaire on “Prepositional Errors and Effective Communication Questionnaire ‘(PEECQ)’” and temporal preposition test where blanks were provided in order to get students’ focus more specific to the use of temporal prepositions.

The method used in analysing the data collected was simple percentages. Findings showed that: that the most preposition errors made by the students is misinformation preposition error in Akwa Ibom State College of Education, Afaha Nsit;

that mother tongue interference; poor learning environment; lack of good English textbooks in the library; application of a particular rule of the second language; and the ignorance of rule restriction are causes of prepositional errors that hinders effective communication committed by students; and that preposition should be paired properly as they must always be followed by a noun or pronoun; prepositions should not be used at the end of sentences;

provision of good textbooks in English language; application of a particular rule of the second language everywhere for instance the use of regular plural and tense formation rules for inflexion of the irregular nouns and verbs should be avoided; and equipping of language laboratory will help in alleviating students understanding and use of preposition in sentences correctly in Akwa Ibom State College of Education, Afaha Nsit.

Based on the findings of this study, it is recommended that the application of a particular rule of the second language everywhere for instance the use of regular plural and tense formation rules for inflexion of the irregular nouns and verbs should be avoided by students. 

Prepositional Errors and Effective Communication among Students of College of Education

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the Study

Language is a social aspect for human life, a form of behaviour and a fundamental part of human life in the society. A language is a tool for expressing ideas or relating information and messages to other people (Brown, 2007). Language has an urgent part in human life because it is a means of effective communication.

By using language, people are able to express their feelings, thoughts, opinions and ideas. In communicating with others, people have to use language properly and correctly to convey their intentions without any errors and mistakes. One of these languages that are used by people to communicate in the world is English. English is an international language that is used by people in the world. In English, preposition is categorized as a branch of part of speech.

It has the function to connect one phrase to another phrase in a sentence. This brought the definition by Folse (2008) who assumes that prepositions are words or group of words that help to connect phrases within a sentence. Prepositions usually appear before a noun phrase. A preposition in a sentence can function to indicate direction, location, or time (Alternberg & Vago, 2010).

Similarly, Hornby (1987) views preposition as a word or group of words often placed before a noun and pronoun to indicate place, direction, source, method.

Moreover, there are many prepositions in English. For instance,  Hooper (cited in Suzanne, 2017) as he categorizes prepositions in English into prepositions of time; at, on, in, since, for, by, prepositions of place; in, inside, on, at, to, into, by, beside, next, between, near away, off, across, and out of and others; despite, throughout without etc.

However, due to the reason that prepositions in English language is a development word that can be added every time it is needed, it cannot be decided the definite numbers of English prepositions (Essberger, 2012).

  Furthermore, in the teaching and learning of English as a foreign language, errors of prepositions are bound to occur.  For effective communication in English, prepositional aspects have to be mastered such as:  verbs, nouns, adjectives, articles and gerunds because prepositions consist of ‘at’, ‘in’, ‘on’, ‘near’, ‘with’, ‘without’ provide information about time.

Also, as small words that serve important functions in the meaning of sentences, prepositions show relationships between persons, objects, places etc.  For example, Glory is sitting near her mother in the church.  The phone is on the cupboard.

Prepositions also act as vital markers in every sentence structure. According to (Huddleston, 1984, P.336) prepositions are the subtlest and a set of small words that are of a closed class in English language.

Also, (Seaton & Mew, 2007) a preposition is words that connect one sentence to another; it shows that both sentences are interconnected error in a preposition due to incomplete learning of the rules. The different parts of speech in sentences could fluster if the learners make the prepositional error such as omission, addition, or selection of the wrong preposition in English (Murshidi, 2014).

From the foregoing, prepositional errors hinders effective communication in students’ writings as they are influenced by inappropriate placements. There are two reasons of errors; first is an inter-language error that used by learners of L1 or mother tongue and second is intra-lingual and developmental errors that used by learners’ ability at specific phase and demonstrate certain of the general characteristics of language acquisition (Richards, 1971).

Researchers for instance have stated that there are four types of errors in writing preposition; omissions, additions, misformation, and misordering (Burt, & Kransen, 1982). Based on the problems stated above, many students do not master English prepositions.

Metcalfe and Astle (2014) describe preposition as a word which expresses the relationship of one word with another, usually (but not always) of a noun, a pronoun or a particle. The placing of a preposition according to them depends to some extent on the type of writing or speech which it is to be used.

In view of the above, the effect of prepositional errors hinders effective communication between two or more persons in which the intended message is properly encoded, delivered through appropriate channel, received properly, decoded and understood by the recipient(s).

Therefore, without proper use of prepositions in both speaking and writing, there bound to be errors and ineffective communication skills.

It is a platform for learners of second language to understand, master and apply the principles of communication for effective management of personal and professional life as well as avoiding prepositional errors in their spoken and written discourse.

Dealing with the explanation above that this research investigates prepositional errors and effective communication and finding solutions among students of Akwa Ibom State College of Education, Afaha Nsit.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The statement of this research proposes the fact that attention is lacking on the aspect that is posing difficulty in learning English prepositions in Akwa Ibom State College of Education. This has consequently brought about errors making that consequently hinder their effective communication both in their written and spoken English.

It is also clear that these students have difficulties in using prepositions of time both in written and speaking aspect as they do not understand how and when to use the prepositions of time especially in ‘on’ and ‘at’ effectively.

Against this background, many researchers have placed the accusation on teachers for not being capable of teaching the material satisfactorily while students also do not have a serious desire for learning since prepositions plays significance impact in learning both negatively and positively.

Teachers should therefore focus on the teaching of prepositional errors and its importance of effective communication to enable these students do away with the errors of learning a target language.

1.3 Objectives of Study

The primary objective of this study is to find out the prepositional errors and effective communication committed among students of Akwa Ibom State College of Education, Afaha Nsit.

The study also aims at analysisng the errors committed in prepositions and also the types of prepositional errors they commit the most. The secondary objectives of the study are to:

  1. examine the causes of prepositional errors that hinders effective communication committed by students of Akwa Ibom State College of Education, Afaha Nsit;
  2. find out the types of prepositional errors that hinders effective communication among students of Akwa Ibom State College of Education, Afaha Nsit;
  3. investigate and bring out solutions towards prepositional errors  and effective communication among students of Akwa Ibom State College of Education, Afaha Nsit.
1.4 Research Questions

The following research questions are formulated to guide the study. Below are the questions:

  1. what are the causes of prepositional errors that hinders effective communication committed by students of Akwa Ibom State College of Education, Afaha Nsit?
  2. what the types of prepositional errors that hinders effective communication among students of Akwa Ibom State College of Education, Afaha Nsit?
  3. what can be done to bring out solutions towards prepositional errors  and effective communication among the students of Akwa Ibom State College of Education, Afaha Nsit?
1.5 Significance of the Study

This research intends to be of great importance to both students and teachers in teaching and learning of prepositional errors and effective communication. This is because it may bring to light something new by highlighting the types, causes and sources of difficulties faced by the students concerning English prepositions.

Also, since this study focuses on prepositional errors and effective communication committed among students of Akwa Ibom State College of Education, Afaha Nsit , it may be beneficial for English teachers to make strategies for students and guide them to enable themselves for solving these problems.

Moreover, the research may help the teachers to realize to change the existing teaching strategies according to the needs of the students. Besides this, the finding of the study will make the students eligible to correct their prepositional mistakes towards effective communication.

1.6 Scope of the Study

The scope of this study is the analysis of prepositional errors and effective communication among students of Akwa Ibom State College of Education, Afaha Nsit.

The research site counted of second year and final year students of the department of English in the above mention school. This study also attempted to identify the various types of prepositional errors committed and to determine the causes/sources of effective communication while speaking and writing.

1.7 Limitation of the Study

The limitation of this research is the time frame given for this work.  The research being an academic research has a time limit and lack of enough time for the researcher due to the duration of the project defence. Another limitation that the researcher faced was the means of getting information from the respondents.

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