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1.1. Background to the Study
Speaking skills refer to the ability to effectively communicate one’s thoughts, ideas, and information through verbal expression. It encompasses various aspects such as clarity, coherence, fluency, and persuasive delivery. Strong speaking skills involve not only the proper use of vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation, but also the capacity to engage listeners, convey messages with confidence and conviction, and adapt to different contexts and audiences. Effective speaking skills enable individuals to articulate their viewpoints, share knowledge, influence others, and foster meaningful connections, whether in formal presentations, group discussions, negotiations, or everyday conversations (Adams, 2019). Developing and honing speaking skills is crucial for effective communication, fostering relationships, and achieving success in personal, academic, and professional realms.
Rhythm, stress, and intonation are essential speaking skills of the English language. Rhythm refers to the time length between the main accent or stress and creates a musical flow in speech. Stress is the force applied to specific words to convey meaning, with Content Words being stressed and Function Words unstressed. English has eight patterns of word stress, including Emphatic Stress, Contrastive Stress, Tonic Stress, New Information Stress, Stress Timing, and Degree of Stress. Intonation refers to the pitch or tone of speech, with rising and falling tones used to convey emotion or ask questions (Subair & Ahmed, 2018). Learning and mastering these aspects of the English language are crucial for learners to speak fluently and avoid misunderstandings in conversations.
There are several effective methods for teaching speaking skills that teachers can use to help their students improve their communication abilities. Olugbenga (2018) says communicative Language Teaching (CLT) is as an approach emphasizes the importance of communication in language learning. It focuses on giving students opportunities to practice speaking in real-life situations. Teachers can use role-playing, group discussions, and debates to encourage students to speak. Teachers can use tasks such as interviews, presentations, and group projects to encourage students to speak. Total Physical Response (TPR) approach uses physical movement to reinforce language learning. Teachers can use TPR to teach commands, directions, and vocabulary by having students act out different situations. Audio-Lingual Method (ALM) focuses on repetition and memorization of patterns and structures in the target language. Teachers can use drills, repetition, and pattern practice to help students improve their speaking skills. Grammar Translation Method (GTM) involves translating sentences from the target language to the native language and vice versa. Teachers can use this method to help students learn grammar rules and vocabulary. Content-Based Instruction (CBI) involves teaching language through content-based materials such as articles, videos, and podcasts. Teachers can use CBI to help students improve their speaking skills by discussing the content they are learning. Suggestopedia method involves using music, relaxation techniques, and positive suggestion to enhance learning. Teachers can use this approach to create a relaxed and positive atmosphere for language learning, which can help students feel more confident when speaking.
Teaching speaking skills is crucial for language learners as it helps them to effectively communicate their ideas, thoughts, and feelings in both personal and professional life. It also enables them to use the language in real-life situations, develop confidence, and overcome their fear of speaking (Oluwaseun & Afolabi, 2019). In addition, speaking skills facilitate the development of cultural awareness and cross-cultural communication skills by exposing learners to different cultures, customs, and traditions associated with the language they are learning. Finally, teaching speaking skills can enhance learners’ employability in today’s global job market, where proficiency in a foreign language is a valuable asset. Therefore, it is essential to teach speaking skills to language learners to help them communicate effectively, develop cultural awareness, gain confidence, and succeed in the global job market.
Teaching speaking skills is crucial for language learners as it plays a vital role in the overall language learning process. Effective communication skills are necessary for success in both personal and professional life, and speaking is the primary mode of communication. Teaching speaking skills helps students develop the ability to speak in various contexts, such as social, academic, and professional (Oluwagbemiga & Adeoye, 2019). It also helps them gain confidence in their abilities, which boosts their self-esteem and helps them overcome their fear of speaking. Additionally, speaking skills play a crucial role in developing cultural awareness and cross-cultural communication skills. Finally, proficiency in a foreign language is a valuable asset in the global job market, and teaching speaking skills can help language learners enhance their employability.
Teaching speaking skills can present several challenges to both teachers and students. One significant challenge is that speaking in a foreign language can be intimidating and overwhelming for many learners, causing them to feel self-conscious and anxious about making mistakes. Additionally, learners may face difficulties in acquiring the correct pronunciation, intonation, and rhythm of the language, which can impede their ability to communicate effectively. Another challenge is the lack of opportunities for learners to practice speaking outside the classroom, which can limit their exposure to different contexts and real-life situations (Ugwuanyi & Udenze, 2018). Moreover, teaching speaking skills requires a more interactive and student-centered approach, which can be time-consuming and resource-intensive for teachers. Finally, it can be challenging to assess speaking skills accurately, as they are subjective and context-dependent. Despite these challenges, it is crucial to address them to help learners overcome their fear of speaking, develop their communication skills, and succeed in their language learning journey.
Teaching speaking skills in Nigeria faces several problems. Firstly, there is a lack of adequate infrastructure and resources in many schools, particularly in rural areas, which hinders effective language instruction. Limited access to technology, audio-visual aids, and even textbooks can restrict students’ exposure to authentic spoken English (Azi, 2016). Secondly, the large class sizes in Nigerian schools make it difficult for teachers to give individual attention to each student, leading to limited speaking practice opportunities. Additionally, there is often a lack of teacher training and professional development programs focusing on speaking skills instruction. Many teachers may not possess the necessary pedagogical knowledge and strategies to effectively develop students’ oral communication abilities (Ademola, 2018). Lastly, the dominance of local languages and regional accents can influence the way English is spoken in different parts of Nigeria, posing a challenge to achieving a standardized pronunciation and accent. Overcoming these obstacles requires investment in infrastructure, teacher training, and the development of contextually relevant and engaging speaking materials.
Nigerian Pidgin English is a creole language spoken in Nigeria and other West African countries. It is a blend of English and indigenous African languages, including Yoruba, Igbo, and Hausa. Nigerian Pidgin English originated from the contact between English traders and African locals in the 19th century and has since evolved into a distinct language with its own grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. It is widely spoken and understood by Nigerians of all ethnicities and social classes, making it a significant aspect of Nigerian culture and identity (Tare & Akpo, 2018). Nigerian Pidgin English is used in various contexts, including informal conversations, music, and movies, and has become an essential means of communication in Nigeria, especially in urban areas. However, Nigerian Pidgin English is often stigmatized and considered inferior to Standard English, which has led to its exclusion from formal education and other official domains. Nonetheless, there have been recent efforts to recognize Nigerian Pidgin English as a legitimate language and promote its use in formal settings.
1.2. Statement of the Problem
Despite English being the official language in Nigeria and a vital component of the educational curriculum, the widespread use of Nigerian Pidgin in informal settings has raised concerns about its impact on students’ proficiency in spoken English. The problem arises from the observation that many JSS II students in Jos North Local Government Area frequently use Nigerian Pidgin in their daily conversations, both within and outside the school environment. This prevalent usage of Nigerian Pidgin can hinder their ability to acquire and improve English speaking skills, leading to potential difficulties in effective communication in formal and academic contexts.
The influence of Nigerian Pidgin on English speaking skills among JSS II students has not been extensively studied in the specific context of Jos North Local Government Area. Understanding the specific effects of Nigerian Pidgin on English speaking skills among these students is crucial for developing effective language teaching strategies and interventions to enhance their proficiency in spoken English.
One of the areas in which Nigerian Pidgin may affect English speaking skills is intonation. Intonation refers to the rise and fall of pitch in speech, which helps convey meaning and emotion. Nigerian Pidgin has its own distinct intonation patterns, which may differ from those of standard English. When students regularly use Nigerian Pidgin, they may carry over its intonation patterns into their English speech, leading to incorrect or unnatural intonation. This can impact their ability to express themselves clearly and convey the intended meaning in English. Stress is another aspect of speaking skills that can be affected by Nigerian Pidgin. In English, stress is used to emphasize certain words or syllables within a sentence. However, Nigerian Pidgin has different stress patterns, and students who frequently use it may struggle with applying the appropriate stress in English. This can result in unclear communication and a lack of emphasis on key information, affecting overall comprehensibility. Vowel and consonant sounds are also influenced by Nigerian Pidgin usage. Nigerian Pidgin incorporates elements from various Nigerian languages, leading to variations in pronunciation compared to standard English. Students who primarily use Nigerian Pidgin may have difficulty producing and distinguishing certain English vowel and consonant sounds accurately. This can lead to mispronunciations, difficulties in understanding and being understood, and potentially hindering effective communication.
These problems in intonation, stress, vowel and consonant sounds arise due to the regular use of Nigerian Pidgin by JSS II students. The informal nature of Nigerian Pidgin, with its simplified grammar and vocabulary, creates a comfortable linguistic environment for students. However, when students rely heavily on Nigerian Pidgin, they may struggle to switch to the more complex structures and conventions of formal English, particularly in academic and professional settings. The lack of exposure to standard English and limited practice in using its features correctly can impede students’ progress in acquiring proficient speaking skills.
Regarding the method used in teaching speaking skills, it is important to recognize the challenges posed by the influence of Nigerian Pidgin on students’ English proficiency. Language teaching strategies should address these specific challenges to enhance students’ spoken English abilities effectively. Teachers can incorporate activities that focus on intonation, stress, and pronunciation, providing explicit instruction and ample practice opportunities for students to develop accurate and natural English speech patterns. Interactive exercises, such as role-plays, debates, and presentations, can help students improve their fluency, clarity, and overall speaking skills. Additionally, integrating authentic materials and real-life contexts into the curriculum can expose students to diverse English accents and help them develop listening comprehension skills.
Nigerian Pidgin has a significant impact on JSS II students’ learning of English speaking skills in Jos North Local Government Area. The influence of Nigerian Pidgin can affect aspects such as intonation, stress, vowel and consonant sounds, leading to difficulties in effective communication in formal and academic contexts. To address these challenges, it is essential to develop language teaching strategies that specifically target the issues arising from the use of Nigerian Pidgin. By providing appropriate instruction, practice, and exposure to standard English, educators can support students in developing their proficiency in spoken English and promoting effective communication skills.
1.2. Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to examine the effects of Nigerian pidgin on JSS II students’ learning of English speaking skills in Jos North Local Government Area. The objectives of this proposal are to:
1. Investigate the effects of Nigerian pidgin on Junior Secondary School Students’ learning of stress.
2. Determine the effect of exposure to Nigerian Pidgin on JSS II students’ learning of English intonation pattern.
3. Measure the effects of Nigerian pidgin on Junior Secondary School Students’ learning of vowel pronunciation.
4. Find out the effects of Nigerian pidgin on Junior Secondary School Students’ consonants pronunciation.
1.3 Research Questions
The following research questions guided the study:
1. What are the effects of Nigerian pidgin on Junior Secondary School Students’ learning of stress?
2. What are the effects of exposure to Nigerian Pidgin on JSS II students’ learning of English intonation pattern?
3. What are the effects of Nigerian pidgin on Junior Secondary School Students’ learning of vowel pronunciation?
4. What are the effects of Nigerian pidgin on Junior Secondary School Students’ consonants pronunciation?
1.5 Significance of the Study
The significance of this study cannot be overemphasized, especially now that English language has attained the status of world lingua franca. The study will be of benefit to students, teachers, policy makers, future researchers and curriculum developers.
Students: The primary beneficiaries of this study are the JSS II students in Jos North Local Government Area. Understanding the effects of Nigerian Pidgin on their English speaking skills can help identify the challenges they face and provide insights into effective strategies for improving their English language proficiency. The findings of the study can inform the development of targeted interventions, instructional materials, and teaching approaches to support students in enhancing their speaking skills.
Teachers and Educators: The study can benefit English language teachers and educators working in Jos North Local Government Area. It provides them with a better understanding of the linguistic and cultural factors influencing students’ English speaking skills. This knowledge can help teachers adapt their instructional methods, develop appropriate teaching materials, and create a conducive learning environment that addresses the specific challenges posed by Nigerian Pidgin. The study findings can also inform teacher training programs, enabling educators to better support their students in language acquisition.
Curriculum Developers: The study can provide valuable insights for curriculum developers responsible for designing English language curricula. By understanding the impact of Nigerian Pidgin on students’ English speaking skills, curriculum developers can integrate relevant content, activities, and assessments that address the specific needs of students in Jos North Local Government Area. The study can contribute to the development of contextually appropriate curriculum frameworks and learning outcomes that reflect the local linguistic realities.
Policymakers and Government Officials: The findings of the study can be instrumental in informing language policies and decision-making at the governmental level. Policymakers can gain insights into the challenges faced by students due to the influence of Nigerian Pidgin and use this information to develop inclusive language policies that recognize the role of Pidgin English while emphasizing the importance of formal English proficiency. The study can also highlight the need for targeted educational interventions and resource allocation to address the specific language needs of students in Jos North Local Government Area.
Researchers and Academics: The study contributes to the existing body of knowledge on language acquisition, sociolinguistics, and educational linguistics. Researchers and academics can build upon the findings of this study to conduct further research, explore related topics, and expand the understanding of language learning in multilingual contexts. The study can also serve as a reference for future studies investigating the effects of Pidgin English on English language proficiency in different regions of Nigeria or in other similar linguistic contexts globally.
In conclusion, the beneficiaries of the study on the effects of Nigerian Pidgin on JSS II students’ learning of English speaking skills in Jos North Local Government Area include the students themselves, teachers, educators, curriculum developers, policymakers, government officials, researchers, and academics. The findings of the study can inform instructional practices, curriculum development, policy formulation, and future research efforts, ultimately benefiting the educational outcomes of students in the local area and contributing to the broader field of language acquisition and sociolinguistics.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The scope of this study on the effects of Nigerian Pidgin on JSS II students’ learning of English speaking skills is limited to Junior Secondary School II (JSS II) students in Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State, Nigeria. The study will focus on the impact of Nigerian Pidgin on the students’ pronunciation, intonation, stress, and overall speaking proficiency in English. The study will also examine the factors that influence the use of Nigerian Pidgin among JSS II students in Jos North Local Government Area.
However, this study has some delimitations. First, the study will not examine the impact of Nigerian Pidgin on other language skills such as reading, writing, and listening. The focus of this study is on English speaking skills only. Secondly, the study will not examine the impact of other non-linguistic factors such as socio-economic background, parental influence, and educational resources on students’ English speaking skills. Finally, the study’s findings may not be generalizable to other regions in Nigeria or other countries with different linguistic and cultural contexts.
1.7 Operational definition of terms
To ensure clarity and precision in the study on “the effects of Nigerian Pidgin on JSS II students’ learning of English speaking skills in Jos North Local Government Area,” it is essential to provide operational definitions of key terms. Here are some suggested operational definitions:
Nigerian Pidgin: For the purpose of this study, Nigerian Pidgin can be operationally defined as a creole language derived from English and various Nigerian languages. It serves as an alternative language of communication for acquaintance, peer group, family setting and other non-formal environments. It is characterized by simplified grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation, influenced by local languages and cultural contexts.
JSS II students: JSS II students refer to students enrolled in Junior Secondary School in the Nigerian education system. In this study, it specifically represents students at the second level of junior secondary education, typically aged between 12 and 14 years, who are learning English as part of their curriculum.
English speaking skills: English speaking skills refer to the abilities and proficiency of individuals in expressing themselves orally in the English language. It includes various aspects such as pronunciation, vocabulary usage, grammar, fluency, clarity of speech, and effective communication in English.
Effects: The effects in this study refer to the impact, influence, or consequences of Nigerian Pidgin on the English speaking skills of JSS II students. It includes both positive and negative effects that the usage and exposure to Nigerian Pidgin may have on the students’ English speaking abilities.
Learning: Learning, in the context of this study, refers to the process by which students acquire knowledge, skills, and competence in English speaking. It involves the active engagement of students in language learning activities, instruction, practice, and the internalization of language rules and patterns.
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