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Cover page      –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           i

Declaration Page         –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           ii

Approval Page             –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           iii

Dedication Page          –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           iv

Acknowledgements                –           –           –           –           –           –           –           v

Table of Contents                   –           –           –           –           –           –           –           vii

Abstract           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           ix

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction          –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           1

1.1 Background of the Study  –           –           –           –           –           –           –           2

1.2 Statement of Problem       –           –           –           –           –           –           –           5

1.3 Purpose of the Study        –           –           –           –           –           –           –           6

1.4 Research Questions          –           –           –           –           –           –           –           6

1.5 Significance of the Study –           –           –           –           –           –           –           7

1.6. Scope of the Study                            –     –           –           –           –           –           7

1.7 Operational Definition of Terms   –           –           –           –           –           –           8

Chapter Two

Review of Related Literature

2.1 English Language in the Curriculum        –           –           –           –           –           10

2.2 Importance of English Language  –           –           –           –           –           –           11

2.3 Language Acquisition –    –           –           –           –           –           –           –           12

2.4 Linguistic Environment for Foreign Language Acquisition         –           –           13

2.5 Linguistic Input under the Linguistic Environment         –           –           –           15

2.6 An Effective Environment for Foreign Language Acquisition    –           –           17

2.7 Lexis         –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           20

2.8 The Concept of Lexical Competence –     –           –           –           –           –           24

2.9 The Role of Language Learning Environment on vocabulary Acquisition          27

2.9.1 The Role of Classroom –            –           –           –           –           –           –           28

2.9.2 The Role Peers   –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           30

2.9.3 The Native Language Use and Language Focused Learning    –           –           33

2.10 Empirical Review           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           37


Chapter Three

Method and Procedure

3.1 Research Design   –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           38

3.2 Area of Study       –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           38

3.3 Population of the Study    –           –           –           –           –           –           –           38

3.2.2 Sample of the Study      –           –           –           –           –           –           –           39

3.4 Sampling Technique         –           –           –           –           –           –           –           39

3.5 Instrument for Data Collection     –           –           –           –           –           –           39

3.5.1 Description of the Instrument    –           –           –           –           –           –           39

3.6 Validity of the Instrument –           –           –           –           –           –           –           39

3.7 Procedure for Data Collection      –           –           –           –           –           –           40

3.8 Method of Data Analysis  –           –           –           –           –           –           –           40

Chapter Four

Data Presentation and Analysis

4.0 Introduction          –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           41

4.1 Presentation of Data         –           –           –           –           –           –           –           41

4.2 Discussion of Findings     –           –           –           –           –           –           –           45


Chapter Five

Summary of Findings, Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Summary of Findings       –           –           –           –           –           –           –           47

5.2 Conclusion            –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           48

5.3 Recommendations –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           49

References      –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           51

Appendix        –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           56










This paper explores the environmental factors influencing the English language usage of students in Pankshin Local Government Area of plateau state .This research work focused on finding out the areas in which the English lexical choices of senior secondary school 11 students in Pankshin Local Government Area have been impacted upon due to environmental factors such as peer group, cultural norms, language of the environment, mother tongue, learning environment as well as social media. The descriptive research design was used in this work as four (4) senior secondary schools in Pankshin were chosen as the sample. Twenty (20) students were selected from each of the schools by using purposive sampling technique making the total sample size eighty (80) students. A test was administered as the research instrument where an essay question was giving to the students and marked by the researcher. Consequently, the researcher found out that errors such as code mixing, slang, direct translation, misspelling, and tautology were rampant in the writing of the students and this could easily be attributed to their environment based on the general findings. Hence, the researcher made recommendations that will go a long way in curbing the rate of influence that the environment has on the English lexical choices of senior secondary school students.


Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

In general, one of the most popular languages in the world is English Language. In this computer era, English Language is the only Language that everyone assumes to understand. This has made English to be the most dominant language in communication, science, aviation, entertainment, radio, diplomacy, politics and of course in education. In Nigeria a student’s success in English determines his acceptance into different levels of academic dispensation hence, the need for students to have a good and Standard English diction.

English has now acquired the title of the world’s leading “global language” (Crystal 2003) because it is used for business, science, and politics. When we use the term English, readers may assume that we are referring to a standard of usage that everyone agrees upon. Readers may think that we must mean British Standard English or American Stan­dard English because the English that exists in such places as Africa, Asia, the West Indies, the Philippines and Sin­gapore is not real or standard English. Readers may also think that teachers of English as a second language (ESL) must be teaching British or American Standard English because that is what their learners want to learn. In fact, the issue is not as straightforward as we may think; there is neither an agreed-upon definition of Standard English, nor is there agreement on what students of ESL need or want to learn. This leads to the following ques­tion: Has rapid change in the status of English as a global language left the classroom practices of many Eng­lish language teachers lagging behind learners’ desires or even their needs?

In 2009 English was the native language of more than some 320 million speakers (www.ethnologue.com) and if you add the number of speakers with English as their second language to that list, English reaches close to half a billion speakers worldwide. Now, ten years on the number is even greater. English is undoubtedly a large and influential language and the importance of knowing and being able to master English is well known. The syllabus for the English subject for upper secondary school states that “Knowledge of English increases the individual’s opportunities to participate in different social and cultural contexts, as well as in global studies and working life” (Engelska, 2001).

1.1Backgroundof the Study

As human beings we have to live in a society or in a particular place surrounded by a lot of people. The environment that surrounds us is called social context. The environment we live in has a great effect on our minds. English is a language which is used internationally, therefore, to cope with the current world we have to learn English. In a developing country like ours we are trying to learn English not only as a foreign language but also as a second language. We try to teach the children how to speak fluently in English but do we know, that the place/ environment we are living works as a motivator as well as discouraging factor for the children while learning English as a second language? The impact of environment on the lexical choices of students is severed as can be noticed in students’ writing and communications.

Normally the process of second language learning is different from the first language or native language acquisition (Atwill, 2007), but it is mostly understood that aspects affecting someone’s ability to acquire a second language (e.g., motivation) do not play a role in native-language development (Dörnyei, 2001). On the other hand, it is a well-known fact that knowledge of second language influences the ability to manage the information in the first language (Marian & Spivey, 2003). Cognitive and psycholinguistic models of bilingualism vividly displays that the two languages interact with each other, even during language-specific processing (Dijkstra& Van Heuven, 2002). Aspects of early age learners and immersion in the language of the environment are very important in the EFL learning process. The current study exhibits that environment plays a pivotal role in the second language learning especially as there are different language environments.

.           The environment of a child has a very significant role to play in the choice of words he uses to interact or communicate; this environment cuts across his peer group, parents, learning environment, social environment, language of immediate environment, teacher’s method of teaching language, cultural norms, the social media as well as his mother tongue.

            Chomsky (2000) proposed the best known accepted theory of language acquisition termed language Acquisition Device (LAD). Chomsky is of the opinion that a child is not born blank; rather he or she has the linguistic predisposition to acquire the language of his immediate community. This linguistic endowment has been described as the language faculty or the language acquisition programme. The language faculty provides the child with a set of procedures for developing an internal grammar of his language on the basis of speech input which the child receives- “The triggering experience”.

A child does not learn language all at once as language development is made up of overlapping stages, while language acquisition has its critical period between0-4 year’s language development then start and progresses to the stages of competence. Ndimele (1999) notes that the language faculty of endowment is not sufficient to enable a child to speak a language rather in addition to the innate linguistic endowment, exposure to linguistic data, is crucial for a child to pick up any language”- that is, the child’s language acquisition programme will remain effective unless there is sufficient exposure to linguistic data in form of a natural language. Ndimele’s assertion goes a long way to show that language acquisition and development are dependent on some factors such as milieu or type of contact that a child has during his linguistic puberty and that is why this study investigated the diction of students born in and indigenous and multilingual environment with the view of determining the influence environment has on a child’s English diction among secondary schools in Pankshin Local Government Area of Plateau State.

            Okol (1990) states that home background of the child decides more than anything the quality of mastery of language for this is where he has experienced his most day activities over the years of infancy and childhood.

            Teaching methods, quality of materials, reward system, peer group, teacher-student relationship, classroom atmosphere, and homework assignment, social media as well as the cultural norms of the environment are considered as Learning environment and it can affect the learners‟ choice of vocabulary learning strategies (Kaylani, 2006). Nakamura (2000) conducted a mixed method study by using questionnaires, observation and oral interviews to understand the effects of learner variables and an external variable – learning environment for Japanese learners of English use strategies when learning second language vocabulary. The subjects of this study were Japanese high school English learners in Japan (EFL situation) and the England (ESL situation). The finding of the study revealed that, the external variable of learning environment was the most significant factor affecting all aspects of vocabulary learning strategy use. That is, the subjects were most affected by the locations, which are EFL or ESL learning environment, when they learned the target language.

            Students in Pankshin Local Government Area of Plateau state learn English Language in an environment of second language which is one of major concern of this work as it is in most English speaking areas where second language learners of English find it very difficult to use correct English diction due to numerous environmental factors. This lends credence to the opinion of Maesin et al (2001: 71) who opines that “in second language learning, students find difficulties to utilize the language skills outside their classrooms as there are fewer opportunities to do so due to poor language environment.”

            This research was conducted to add to the list of various research works which have had environmental influence on English Language in a whole as its focus by narrowing its research tentacles to English lexis.

1.2. Statement of Problem

            The rate of failure in English as a subject at the senior secondary school level in both external and internal examination has become a source of concern to researchers and educational stakeholders. Over the years, a lot of factors have been attributed to this rate of failure. However, less attention has been given to environment as a cause of poor performance in English language among senior secondary school students. It is safe to say that human beings are greatly affected by heredity, in the same way affected by environment. Physiologists are of the view that the environment in which a child finds himself contributes a great deal to his acquisition and use of language. Abedo (2003) notes that a child requires sustained interaction with other language users in order to bring the latent language faculty into operation within a given language. It is therefore, in the light of this that the research was necessitated with the aim of finding lasting solution to this problem.

1.3. Purpose of the Study

            The sole aim of carrying out this research work is to investigate the influence of environment on students’ choice of words in an indigenous setting such as Pankshin Local Government Area. Particularly this study sets to:

  • Determine the impact of the environment on the English lexical choices of students.
  • Investigate the extent to which the environment has impacted on the English diction of students in Pankshin Local Government Area.
  • Proffer solutions accordingly to the identified problems.

1.5. Research Questions

             The research is guided by the following research questions:

  • What impact does the environment have on the English lexical choice of senior secondary school students of Pankshin Local Government Area?
  • To what extent does the environment affect the English lexical choices of students in Pankshin Local Government Area
  • What are the possible solutions to the effects of environment on the lexical choices of senior secondary school students?

1.5. Significance of the Study

            The importance of this study cannot be underestimated. This is because of the great importance given to English language in Nigerian and the global society. If students continue to perform poorly in English language, then one day, we will go back to our native language because there will be no international intelligibility of the English language we speak. No wonder some of the graduates of today are so terrible when it comes to speaking, writing and even reading in English language.            Therefore, this study will be of importance to all educational stakeholders which include, parents, government, teachers, curriculum planners and students as well who are the main reason for this research.

            The study will be of benefit to the curriculum planners because they will come to understand that the environment has profound effect on the performance of students in English language. Therefore, they will structure learning experiences to abate or annihilated the lapses caused by environment in the teaching-learning of English language.

        To the teachers as implementers of the curriculum, they will help the students or encourage them to speak and write in English language as often as possible to overcome these effects of environment on the lexical choices of students. It will contribute a great deal in helping teachers known why their students speak or write the way they do. Therefore the teachers will assist in finding the most effective way to teach in order to make students use the standard type of English.

            The government who are the purse string of education will benefit from this study because when they are situating a school, they will consider the environment where the school will be. They will also provide instructional materials and textbooks which will help in helping students overcome effects of environment on the lexical choices of students.

        Parents on the other hand will encourage their children to speak good English, irrespective of the environment they find themselves in. this will go a long way in enhancing their mastery in the English language and also enrich their English lexis.

            The students who are the central part of this research will benefit from this research as the recommendations made from this study will be used to help them overcome effect of environment on the diction of students.

1.6. Scope of the Study

            The study covers the environmental factors that influence the English language usage of senior secondary school students. It is restricted to some selected senior secondary schools in Pankshin  Local Government Area. However, despite the restriction of the study to the selected Local Government Area, its findings can be generic to other parts of the state and country at large.

1.7. Operational Definition of Terms

      As the use of a word differs from its usage, the following definitions are according to the context of this study for better understanding

  1. Impact: The power to change the way someone thinks, acts, speaks or writes,
  2. Environment: The environment here includes the parents, teachers, family background, school surrounding, social media, cultural norms, social environment and peer group.
  3. Lexical: The complete set of all possible words in a language.
  4. Choice: An opportunity to select preferred words or phrases of a language.
  5. Lexical choice: selecting the content words or phrases in a text.

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