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Title Page        –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           i

Declaration      –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           ii

Approval Page            –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           iii

Dedication      –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           iv

Acknowledgement      –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           v

Table of Contents       –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           vi

Abstract          –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           viii




  • Background to the Study –           –           –           –           –           –           1
  • Statement of the research problems – –           –           –           –           6
  • Research Questions – –           –           –           –           –           –           7
  • Purpose of the study – –           –           –           –           –           –           8
  • Significance of the study – –           –           –           –           –           –           8

1.6 Scope and Delimitations of the study      –           –           –           –           –           8

  • Operational definition of terms –           –           –           –           –           –           9




2.1. The Status of the Nigerian Pidgin           –           –           –           –           –           16

  • The Roles of Pidgin- –           –           –           –           –           –           –           18
  • Attitudes of the Society towards Nigerian Pidgin English –           –           20
  • Effect of Pidgin on Writing Performance of Students –           –           –           25






3.1. Research Design  –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           32

3.2 Population of the Study-   –           –           –           –           –           –           –           32

3.3 Sample of the Study-        –           –           –           –           –           –           –           32

3.3 Sampling Technique-        –           –           –           –           –           –           –           33

3.4 Instrument for Data Collection     –           –           –           –           –           –           33

3.4.1 Validity of the Instrument         –           –           –           –           –           –           34

3.5 Procedure for Data Collection-     –           –           –           –           –           –           34

3.6 Method of Data Analysis  –           –           –           –           –           –           –           34




4.1 Mode of Presentation of Results   –           –           –           –           –           –           35

4.2. Discussion of Findings-   –           –           –           –           –           –           –           39




5.1 Summary of Findings-      –           –           –           –           –           –           –           41

5.2 Conclusion-           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           44

5.3 Recommendations –          –           –           –           –           –           –           –           44

5.4. Suggestions for Further Studies  –           –           –           –           –           –           45

References      –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           46

Appendixes     –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           48






This study was carried out in order to determine the effects of Pidgin English on composition writing of senior secondary school students in Pankshin Local Government Area. The survey research design was adopted. The population of the study consisted of all SS 2 students in Pankshin.  The sample size of the research consisted of 80 students from 4 secondary schools. The method of sampling applied in this work was the random sampling technique. The instrument for data collection was test. The students were asked to write an informal letter to their friends. The reason for choosing informal letter is to make the students at ease so that they will express themselves and unconsciously use those elements of pidgin in their writing. If they are told to write a formal letter, they will be conscious of what they are writing. The researcher used face to face method of data collection. She went to the various schools, introduced herself as the researcher and administered the test. This was done in each of the schools. The method of data analysis was the simple percentage. The following findings were made: Pidgin English affects students’ composition writing in senior secondary schools. This could be seen in their composition writing where expressions like “In my school dey dey teach well wel well “ which is ungrammatical and has characteristics of Pidgin English, the common errors found in students’ written essays were categorized into omission, addition and missformation. Example of omission is: “I just wan tell you about my new school”. Example of addition or reduplication is “In my school dey dey teach well wel well”. Example of missformation is “Omo if you see that school you will dab for it”. Based on the findings of this study, the following were recommended: the school curriculum should be adjusted to accommodate Nigerian pidgin, students need to be aware, right from upper primary school through to the end of junior secondary school, that Nigerian pidgin is different from English language, the differences should be taught alongside their negative effects when Nigerian pidgin interferes with English, teachers in primary school as well as English language teachers in secondary school need to acquire the requisite knowledge of Nigerian pidgin and its negative effect whenever it interferes with English language.





  • Background to the Study

The English language to a large extent functions as a second language in Nigeria. Although Nigeria is believed to have more than four hundred (400) languages (Brook, 1996) with over two hundred and fifty (250) ethnic groups (wikipedia,2014), the English language is the only language used for all forms of official transactions, business, science and technology and, language of instruction in the school system. It is the ticket for gaining admission into all tiers of the educational system.

Apart from being the language of instruction and official language of communication, the English language is also taught as a separate subject. In many tertiary institutions in the country, it is studied as single and combined honours degree course and, a prerequisite into other education courses. Thus, there are graduates with Bachelors of Arts (B.A.) in English, Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) in English and sometimes Bachelor of Arts (B.A.Ed.) in education which includes the English language.

According to Ajibola (2013), the main concern of adopting the English language as a second language (L2), which was actually pioneered by the British colonial administration, was to help people communicate or interact with each other without the native language posing a barrier. In recent times, the English language has made national and international communication possible. However, there are certain limitations that speakers of the English language have which according to Ajibola (2013)Olatunji (2012), is because the English language is not a native language in Nigeria; whereas Ihemere (2006) in Wikepedia (2014) reports that the Pidgin variety is, “… the native language of approximately 3 to 5 million people and is a second language for at least another 75million.”

As a result of the prolonged use of the English language as the language of communication, many Nigerians understand and can speak the English language to some extent but sadly fail to read or write it proficiently. The English language is occupying an enviable position in Nigeria. In the words of Ajibola (2013)Olatunji (2012)Ihemere (2006) Ajibade, Adeyemi and Owopetu (2012) , “The English language, a foreign language in Nigeria, enjoys the status of a second language (p.12).” As lofty as its position is, the maintenance of standard English as was introduced by the British is becoming a mirage as the days go by because of the presence of the Pidgin and several other varieties, which not only affects the students but the teachers as well. According to Olatunji (2012), “people of different socio-economic status and age commit unpardonable … blunder in their day-to-day use of the language (p. 55).”

Although Karahari (2002) and Kperogi (2010) in Olatunji (2012) opine that, a native-like command of a language in an L2 situation is almost impossible and that no Nigerian who studied at home can avoid speaking or writing the varieties used among the populace either consciously or unconsciously. We should not lose sight of the fact that the world is gradually becoming a global village; consequently, it will be baseless to introduce varieties that would not result in mutual intelligibility as far as global communication is concerned. As a result of global communication many parents force their children to learn the English language over the Pidgin and even their own languages because of the belief that it will give the later an added advantage in the global community (Li, 2003).

            In Nigeria, Pidgin English (NPE, henceforth) is seen commonly as the language of the uneducated as well as a bastardisation of English and its usage. Consequently, it is measured as a sign of the level of one’s competence in English. For example, Agheyisi (2001) claims that the normal speakers of pidgin are persons who have minor or no proper schooling. However, as Akande (2008:37) has distinguished, the sociolinguistic experience in Nigeria currently is such that university graduates, instructors, solicitors and newscasters use Nigerian Pidgin English (NPE). The situation has also been proven that NPE is not used only in unofficial settings but also in workplaces and further official situations (Akande 2008). In other words, this claim that NPE is the language of the uneducated does not appear to earn rationality because there are so many knowledgeable users in Nigeria who can practice both Standard English and NPE competently (Akande 2008).

Moreover, NPE has assumed an important function in communication in Nigeria, particularly among cultural groups that do not have the same language. In addition, it can be claimed that NPE has enriched the nation’s socio-linguistic and administrative ideas as good as harmony in the nation since it is the one language that all the educated and the unschooled, regardless of their cultural background can understand (Akande, 2008:38).

Fluency and correctness of language expression can be fully detected in a composition, which represents one’s English ability (Hong, 2007) .The ability to write effectively in English is becoming increasingly important in the global community as communication across language becomes even more essential. Good English writing competence is widely recognized as an important skill for educational, business and personal reasons. Writing is a complex process which demands cognitive analysis and linguistic synthesis. It is even harder to learn to write in a foreign language, and it takes considerable time and effort to become a skillful writer. English writing instruction is thus assuming an increasing role in foreign language education (Tan, 2001)

Although writing is a difficult process even in the first language, it is even more complicated to write in a foreign language. Many studies have indicated that for beginners, especially English as a Foreign Language (EFL) students, there tends to be interference from their first language in the process of writing in English (Huang, 2003). Writing in a foreign language like English often presents the greatest challenge to the students at all stages, particularly essay writing because in this activity, writing is usually extended and therefore it becomes more demanding than in the case of writing a short paragraph.

Writing is foundational to success in academics, in the work place and in the global economy. In an increasingly demanding world of literacy, the importance of ensuring students’ proficiency in writing can never be overemphasized. The ability to write well, hitherto a luxury is now a dire necessity (Gallagher, 2006). Writing is vital to students’ developing literacy skills. In light of this, teaching learners to write well should be top priority of a worthwhile education system. Gallagher (2006) observes that a school that “teaches its children the curriculum without concurrently teaching them how to write well is a school that has failed” (p. 170).

To Yiljep (2018), writing skill is the fourth and last of all the language skills. It is generally termed as the most difficult and complicated skills to master. The first two skills tend to come naturally especially in L1 situation. It is an expressive skill. It is a viable medium of communicating to readers whatever the writer wants to convey. He (Yiljep) further defines writing as an assemblage of sentences in such a way as to produce a meaningful account of an object or an event. Unlike speaking which is learned informally, naturally and unconsciously from the beginning, writing requires conscious and formal effort to learn.

Sadly, observation typifies the public school system in Nigeria where writing is hardly taught in any meaningful way (Oyetunde & Muodumogu, 2009). It is expected that the English language learner should be able to develop ideas in effective sentences, paragraphs, and write good essays as writing is the medium through which the academic performance of the learners are assessed. However, the reverse is the case in Nigeria.

Hence students’ performance in written English affects their achievement not only in English language as a subject but also in the other subjects. Idogo (2005) and the WAEC Chief Examiners’ Report (2000) list poor knowledge of the rules of grammar, inability to construct good sentences, lack of teachers’ exposure to modern methods of teaching as causes of students’ poor achievement in English language.           

Writing is one of the most important activities of a literate community. Students need to read so they can learn about the world but they need to know how to write so they can change the world. This statement by Rog (2007) captures the centrality of writing to life generally. Writing is an extra ordinary complex activity that incorporates thought processes, feelings, and social interactions. It is also an act of creatively and imaginatively putting down ideas, feelings and opinions using the correct words. Perin (2007) adds that it can be a satisfying and mind-expanding activity to those who have acquired the necessary skills but a frustrating and even aversive experience when the skills are lacking. Teachers therefore should take the teaching of writing serious to enable the students master the fundamentals of effective writing.

It is in the light of the above discussion that this study sets out to investigate the effect of pidgin English on composition of senior secondary school students in Pankshin Local Government Area of Plateau State.

  • Statement of the research problems

            Over the years, there has been blame on who or what is the cause of the massive failure in English language at the secondary school level. Most times, teachers are blamed for these poor performances of students. It is true that there is difference between speech and writing, but it is also true that what you speak is surely going to affect what you write.

            Pidgin English has been the language of communication for both illiterate and the educated. Individuals and even students feel comfortable speaking it without recourse to its implications in their academics. Students when writing tend to transfer what they speak in their pidgin English to formal writing situation. This has created a lot of ambiguity in the composition writing of these students. therefore, it is in the light of this that the researcher’s interest has been awoken to investigate into the effect of pidgin English on the composition of senior secondary school students in Panksin Local Government Area of Plateau State with an aim of effecting positive change for better academic performance in English language.

  • Research Questions

The questions this research work seeks to answer are:

  1. What are the common errors found in written essays of students as a result of the use of pidgin?
  2. To what extent has these errors hindered communication in formal writing?
  3. How can these problems be solved for effective composition writing by students?




  • Purpose of the study

The main purpose of writing this research work is to determine the effect of Pidgin English on composition writing of senior secondary school students in Pankshin Local Government Area.

            Other specific objectives are to:

  1. Identify the common errors found in written essays of students as a result of the interference of pidgin with their formal writing;
  2. Ascertain to what extent these errors hinder communication in formal writing;
  3. Proffer possible solutions to these problems for improved writing.
    • Significance of the study

            The knowledge of this study will enable parents to readjust their manner of communication towards their children in several homes. Teachers on the other hand, will enhance their surveillance towards theirs student’s manner of communications in schools even among their friends. As this study intends to identify the effects of Pidgin English in students writing performances, the knowledge of this study, will invariably, enable the students in question improve their use of Standard English. As a result, fulfill the major essence of acquiring good education.

1.6 Scope and Delimitations of the study

The study covers effect of pidgin English on composition of senior secondary school students. the study is limited to some selected secondary schools in Pankshin Local Government Area of Plateau State. However findings from this research will be applicable to other local governments and state at large. 

  • Operational definition of terms

The following terminologies and vocabularies are defined below for better clarifications.

  • Pidgin: Pidgin English is an informal language used by a group of people who do not have access to the use of Standard English for communication.
  • Composition: This is the art of putting down ideas on paper which is against the oral form of language. This could be narrative, argumentative, descriptive or expository.



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