ERRORS IN ORAL EXPRESSION OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE BY SECONDARY STUDENTS

 †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† D. Vinodh Kumar

 

INTRODUCTION

One very common problem the teacher of English faces today is a large number of errors made by the learners at all levels.  This is mainly observed in the oral expression.  The four important basic skills necessary for communication are: listening, speaking, reading and writing. When a person learns the mother tongue, he/ she masters speech first.  It is later, at the age of six or seven; he/she begins to learn reading and writing.  In learning a second language, a learner should start with speech and then learn reading and writing.  Language is primarily a spoken thing, the written representation is secondary. Teachers are often annoyed at the number of errors committed by their learners, especially in the spoken area.  A study of error analysis can make it clear to the teachers that no one can learn a language without committing errors.  They would realize that errors are a part of learnerís learning process.  The significance of the errors as revealed by error analysis would change the attitude of the teachers.  They would look at the errors as something, as a part of language learning, and not something which hinders the process of language learning.

 

OBJECTIVES

1. To collect errors in terms of deviance of randomly selected secondary school students of classes VIII, X and XII;

2. To study the efforts of the teachers to improve the oral expression of the learners;

3. To analyse and find out the sources of these errors;

4. To suggest remedial measures to improve the oral expression of the learners.

 

METHOD

Tools

1. Paragraphs (oral reading texts): In the all three classes i.e. Standard VIII, X and XII learners were asked to read a couple of paragraphs from their texts;

2. List of words (oral reading): A list of words was prepared for each of the three classes:  std VIII, X and XII.  These words were taken from their texts.  Care was taken in selection of the words.  Difficulty level was also maintained;

3. Interview: A number of simple questions were asked to the learners of std VIII.  This was in form of an interview;

4. Story Building: The learners of std X were asked to build a story and produce it orally from the shown picture;

5. Elocution: Since the learners of std XII were older and more advanced than learners of std VIII and X, they were asked to say a few sentences on the given topics;

With the help of above tools and techniques the learners were made to speak. This oral expression of the learners was recorded on a cassette-tape.

 

Sample

A sample of 60 students were taken randomly from std VIII, X and XII (form each class, 20 students).

 

Procedure

The researcher carefully listened to the available data of each learner of class VIII, X and XII.  Learnersí responses were transcribed. It is to be noted that only a deviance response was singled out and was transcribed separately. This deviance was given a frequency counts. The frequency counts deviance was counted of each of the following areas:

1. Deviance in consonants;

2. Deviance in vowels;

3. Unnecessary repetition;

4. Clusters of sounds;

5. Unnecessary deletion;

6. Unnecessary replacement;

7. Not clear sound;

8. Unnecessary repetition and hesitation;

9. Hesitation and unclassified deviance;

10. Deviance in sound consonants and sound vowels;

11.  Unnecessary replacement and unclassified deviance;

12. Unnecessary addition;

13. Missing; and

14. Unclassified deviance.

 

FINDINGS

Deviancein different fourteenareas was found. The learners of the school under study committed 535 (40%), 456 (35%) and 396 (25%) deviance in the class VIII, X and XII, respectively. The highest rate of deviance was found in pronunciation of vowel sounds 395(28.4%). The second highest rate of deviance was found in pronunciation of consonant sound 316 (22.7).   Learners rate of deviance in terms of not clear pronunciation was 145 (10.4%). The least rate of deviance in terms of replacement and unclassified deviance was 11(0.79%).The deviance in terms of deletion, repetition, hesitation and missing were 14 (1.00%), 15 (1.08%) and 15 (1.08%) respectively.

 

SUGGESTIONS

In order to improvethe oral expression of the learners, consonant sound must be practised well. The vowels and diphthongs present difficulty to the students.  Teachers should take care of them. Clusters such as/st. lm/. ksts / must be practised so that students can pronounce them well. The reading should be done carefully with proper grouping of words and avoiding substitutions and omissions. The pronouncing dictionary should be regularly utilised. The dissimilarities between English and the mother tongue need to be highlighted. There has to be correct length in pronouncing long and short letters. Use of audio-visual aids be profitably made. Charts with phonetic symbols be used.  Oral drills can help a lot to improve learnersí pronunciation.