THE INFLUENCE OF TECHNOLOGY ON THE ENGLISH VOCABULARY AMONG SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS

14

THE INFLUENCE OF TECHNOLOGY ON THE ENGLISH VOCABULARY AMONG SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN ABAKALIKI URBAN

ABSTRACT

As new technologies emerge; the English language evolves ways of describing them. The more there are changes in society so does the English language also change to enhance appropriate communication in the era. It is in view of the above that this thesis identifies the extent to which technological words have influenced English vocabulary, in the 21st century, using senior secondary school students’ essays. Forty (40) essay scripts were sampled from four selected senior secondary schools in Abakaliki urban of Ebonyi state. The analysis of data was guided by linguistic principles. It investigated the proliferation of technological words, which have formed the language of technology, on students’ writings through qualitative data analysis to ascertain whether there is a deviation from the conventional vocabulary of English. The findings reveal that the rules of structure and word formations in the English language are broken by the students in order to meet their social needs. These are anchored on the contributions of mobile phones and Internet technologies on English as a changing language, especially on its lexis.

CHAPTER ONE: Introduction

1.1  Background to the Study

The study of vocabulary in the English language is an area of work that has received a great deal of attention over the past few decades. Sorting and systematizing vocabulary in the language according to technological inventions and contacts with other languages of the world have been done in order to identify the frequent use of such words and their formations in contemporary English, which have added to varieties of English. That English is being referred to as a global language is no doubt because of its vocabulary in various fields of learning, especially in the area of technological development. Today, technology is the most prominent of the various fields that have left trademark on English usage among the speakers in the world through new patterns of communication that have great influence on the writings of students and other users. Technology has extended the vocabulary dimension of English and changed the ways students write, communicate and express themselves with the vocabulary.

Vocabulary is, in actual sense, the essence of every language. Long and Richards characterize vocabulary as ‘the core component of all the language skills’ (xii). In Nigeria, the English language is studied as a second language and the learners also take cognizance of its vocabulary through the existence of technological development. It is not hard to imagine the reason for the importance of vocabulary in English. As Wilkins puts it, ‘without grammar very little can be conveyed, without vocabulary nothing can be conveyed’ (iii). This explicates the obvious importance of the English vocabulary in communication, which ‘connects to the systems of phonology, morphology, syntax, grammar and to meaning systems’ (Jeanine Treffers-Daller 23). We should deduce from Wilkins and Treffers-Daller that without vocabulary, there will be no sentence, no text and no language. While  vocabulary is central to the English language, it is worthy to note that it is very important to every common language learner, especially those in the senior secondary schools who ‘are the most-like candidates to represent language change’ (Dirk Gecraets 56). The prominent role of the English language learners in the mastery of vocabulary in English has been widely accepted and increasingly recognized in this new technological era. Thus, vocabulary has generally enjoyed a prominent position at all the periods and trends of language teaching. It has actually achieved special significance with the empirical observation of its employment for the design of teaching priorities and curriculum organization within this technological era too. Hence, if we are aware of the English vocabulary and the field in which such development emanates, we can surely adopt any appropriate and positive change that will occur in the language and use it in our day to day communication.
Moreover, the English language in itself takes new forms. It has changed substantially over the 1,500 years of its use, reflecting patterns of its contacts with other languages and the changing communication needs of the people. The purpose for which it is used has grown more than before. English is everywhere and at the leading edge of technological development, which has given rise to new vocabulary, grammatical forms and ways of speaking and writing (David Graddol 1998) ‘with the internet and the information superhighway providing extra thrust’ (Akwanya 3). The extra thrust noted by Akwanya is no doubt the impact of internet on users, especially on the area of vocabulary. Teachers of English as a second language and researchers always acknowledge the immense technological achievements, communicative power, and social potentials of the Internet, but express their concerns on the influence on users (David Crystal 2004). The communication on the internet is a development of a technological kind of English known as ‘net English’ (David Crystal 22).