Problem And Prospects In English language Prepositions Among Students In Nigeria

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Problem And Prospects In English language Prepositions Among Students In Nigeria

The acquisition and learning of a language involve understanding and mastery of what constitutes its grammar. This paper assessed the performance of second language undergraduate students in the use of English prepositions and determined the likely sources of challenges in its correct use. One hundred and ninety eight undergraduate students were randomly selected from the Department of English Language of a Nigerian University. An assessment test on preposition use was the main instrument for data collection. The results show that the highest number of the students scored between 15 and 19 over 50 which is the modal class. Less than average (43.7%) scored fifty and above. The challenges and difficulties encountered in the use of prepositions are linked to the nature of English prepositions: Polysemy, idiomatic usage and substitution with first language (LI) prepositions. The difficulties were made manifest as majority of the respondents wrongly substituted ‘on’ with other prepositions such as ‘in’, ‘at’, ‘over’, ‘for’, ‘by’, ‘with’, ‘to’ usually influenced by L1 meaning. To address the difficulty in preposition use, the study recommended an eclectic approach combining collocation, prototype and cognitive linguistic approaches for teaching following a comparative and contrastive study of the preposition systems of the languages (L1 and L2) involved. Learners are encouraged to use dictionaries and e-learning modules to complement the classroom teaching

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