Sociolinguistics Inputs and English as Second Language Classrooms

Article excerpt

Abstract

Sociolinguistic inputs in language acquisition and use of English as Second Language in classrooms is the main focus of this study. A survey research design was adopted. The population consisted of all secondary school students in Akure Local Government of Ondo State, Nigeria. Two hundred and forty (240) students in senior secondary school classes were deliberately selected from six secondary schools randomly sampled. A fourteen-item questionnaire designated to elicit the required information on the sociolinguistic inputs was used for data collection. The face and content validity of the instrument was ensured. A trial test of the instrument was carried out with students in a community senior secondary school in Ekiti State. Split- half reliability was used and a reliability coefficient of 0.9 was obtained. One way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), t-test and Pearson Product Moment correlation statistics were employed for the data analysis. Findings revealed that parents' occupations have significant impact on secondary school students' use of English. Results also revealed that gender, age and religion have insignificant input on secondary school students' use of English. It was concluded that the family still remains a major source and most potent place for language learning; therefore, parents should give more attention to students language use at home and provide all the necessary impetus.

Keywords: inputs, ESL, sociolinguistics, age, class levels, parents' occupation

1. Introduction

Research has established the place of social interaction, social activity and social context in language acquisition (Vygotsky, 1978). Language is one of the potent weapons of any progressive society. The society is made or marred by the roles played by the communicative skills and imperatives of the available languages in a society. The descriptive study of the effect of any and all aspects of society, including cultural norms, expectations, and context, on the way language is used is called sociolinguistics. It is the overall effect of the society on language use. It also studies how language varieties differ between groups separated by certain social variables, for instance ethnicity, religion, status, gender, level of education, age, etc., and how creation and adherence to these rules are used to categorize individuals in social or socioeconomic classes. As the usage of a language varies from place to place, language usage also varies among social classes.

In Nigeria, the place of language in the entire social structures cannot be glossed over. The Federal Government of Nigeria (2004) in its national policy on education states that in appreciating the place of language as a means of promoting social interaction, national cohesion and preserving cultures; every child shall learn the language of the immediate environment and one of the three Nigerian languages, in addition to English and French which is recognized as the second official language. This shows that learners are encumbered with a lot of language overload.

The English language is the most widely used language in all sectors of the country especially on official basis. It is a significant factor of national unity. In addition, the society expects students at all levels to be able to speak the English language meaningfully and intelligently. In addition, credit pass in English is a compulsory requirement that all candidates are required to get before they could be admitted into the universities. Hence, to ensure effective learning and acquisition of the English language, it becomes a compulsory subject at all levels of education in Nigeria. The English language has become the language that determines the progress that students can make in their quest to acquire higher education and prestigious employment.

As a multi lingual and multi ethnic country, Nigeria has many languages, some of which have no standard orthography that can be used to perform national linguistic functions. …