An Assessment of the Extent of Pidgin English Interference in the English of Students in the University of Buea
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The purpose of this long essay is to analyze the extent of pidgin/English interferences in the English of English language students at the University of Buea. Subjects were randomly selected from level 200 English Major Students. The results showed that even though students have a good mastery of Pidgin English, it has very little interference in their English.
The majority of students (89%) had a good mastery of English grammar despite their frequent use of Pidgin English. Generally speaking, the students in the department of English language performed very well in the test. Their responses in the questionnaire didn’t reflect their performances in the test. This can be attributed to the fact that pidgin doesn’t interfere with their English and that most of the subjects know the difference between pidgin and English.
The weak performance by the few students who performed poorly in the test can be ascribed to the fact that they were not able to differentiate between pidgin and English language. This study concludes that major curricular changes in the Department of English language could bring significant changes to students’ performances in English both in written and spoken forms.
1.1 Background to the Study
Cameroonian Pidgin English also called Kamtok (Cameroon talk) is an English-based Creole language. About 5% of Cameroonians are Native speakers of the language, while an estimated 50% of the population speaks it in some. Many Pidgin speakers are unaware that this language is different from English proper. It is a Variety of West African Englishes spoken along the Coast from Ghana to Cameroon.
It is a vehicular language that has been inactive use in the country for over 200 years. It came into being in the slave trade years (1440 to early 1800s). It preceded English in Cameroon. The first Baptist missionaries who arrived in Cameroon in 1845 and introduced formal education English had to learn Pidgin. A few decades later during the German annexation period (1884-1914), Pidgin resisted a German ban.
It took flight when it became a makeshift language used in German plantations an undertaking by forced labourers who were drawn from the hinterland and who spoke different indigenous languages. With time, it invaded the place and was adopted by Baptist missionaries as their language of evangelical crusades. For many years, it has been used on school playgrounds and campuses and in political campaigns, and today, and today it is forcing its way into the spoken media.
English language originated in England and is now widely spoken throughout the continents. It is the primary language of the United Kingdom, United States, Australia Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and various small island nations in the Caribbean sea and the Pacific Ocean. It is also an official language in many countries including Cameroon and Nigeria. It should be worthy of note that unlike Nigeria,
The English language is not the sole official language of Cameroon. In Cameroon, the French language is also an official language which makes Cameroon the only nation in the world that speaks both French and English as national language behind only Canada.
The English language is the global language of technology, science, education, computer, and aviation and at that a world language of importance. Therefore, efficient spoken/written knowledge of the English language is of basic importance to the study of every other subject of Standard English command respect and prestige in society. Despite the importance of the correct use of the English language, it is found that many students perform woefully in its usage both in examinations and daily life interactions.
Several factors contribute to the situation one of which is the constant use of Pidgin English in study and living situations including the primary, secondary and higher institutions. lt is of great importance that teachers, lecturers, and parents should encourage students both in and out of the classroom/lecture halls to speak English every time and anywhere with the availability of adequate instructional materials to aid the teaching and learning of the English language.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
It is becoming increasingly difficult if a particular student really went to school or perhaps was well-schooled in the rudiments of English. It is not an overstatement if we say that most of the students cannot make simple, clear, and error-free sentences in the English language. This can be attributed to the frequent use of pidgin by students either by way of code-switching or code-mixing in communication at home, school campus, and their neighbourhood.
The English language remains the official language of communication alongside the French language, though Pidgin English is becoming more and more important as a language. Therefore, Pidgin English, when it is first learned by children, poses some problems in their later life. They will find it difficult to differentiate between Pidgin and Standard English both in their spoken and written forms.
1.3 Research Questions
- What is the relationship between Pidgin English and the English language at the University of Buea?
- Flow often do students use Pidgin English more than the English language on campus?
- What are the major areas of pidgin/English interference in the University of Buea?
- How can the interference of pidgin in spoken English be optimized at the University of Buea?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
- The objectives of this study are;
- To find out if there is any relationship between Pidgin English and the English language at the University of Buea.
- To know if students use pidgin English more than the English language on campus.
- To illustrate the major areas where pidgin/English interferences are common with students at the University of Buea.
- Finally, to suggest ways by which the interference of pidgin in spoken English can be optimized at the University of Buea.