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EFFECTS OF SLANG ON STUDENTS ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN SECONDARY SCHOOL

EFFECTS OF SLANG ON STUDENTS ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN SECONDARY SCHOOL

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study

Language is important in our daily conversation. People need a language to communicate with each other in every society, Language is the method of human communication, either spoken or written. It consists of the use of words in a structured and conventional way. language is the style of a pieces of a writing or speech.  Oluwabamide (2004) There is no generally accepted language, language can be defined, only that there is no one definition that satisfies the meaning of language.

According to Owen (2006:1) language can be defined as a socially acceptable code or conventional system to deliver concepts through the use of symbols that are governed by the provisions.  Language is a formal system of signs governed by grammatical rules of combination to communicate meaning. This definition stresses the fact that human languages can be described as structural systems consisting of rules that relate particular signs to particular meanings (Bloomfield, 2014). Language is primarily speech, Its written form is developed later on. It is universal among human beings who use it for carrying out various activities of life. Definition of language is not difficult to find. Almost all well-known linguists have tried to define language in their own way. According to Sapir (2009) “Language is purely human and non-instinctive method of communicating ideas, emotions unit desires by means of voluntarily produced symbols”.  Bloch and Trager (2002) write: “A language is a system of arbitrary vocal symbols by means of which a social group co-operates”. Hall (2008) tells us that language is “the institution whereby humans communicate and interact with each other by means of habitually used oral-auditory arbitrary symbols”.

Robins (2009) does not give a definite definition of language but points out certain facts related to language, saying that “languages are symbol of systems, almost based on pure or arbitrary conventions”. According to  Chomsky (2009) a language is “a set of sentence, each finite in length and constructed out of a finite set of elements”.

Most of them have taken the view that languages are systems of symbols designed for the purpose of communication. So an operational definition of language may be: “a system of arbitrary symbols for human beings’ communication in speech and writing, that is used by the people of a particular community”.

According to Burgoon and Buffver(1978) communication is a behavior that occurs between two or more participants. According to Chapell and Reed (1984) communication is any means by which a thought is transmitted from one person to another. Communication involves two people, communication is transmissional, and it is a shared code that is two people use the same language, code and sign.

Formal Western education was introduced into the country by Christian missionaries just before the middle of the 19th century for about four decades after the initial date, both the nature and man thrust of language. Education in the country was completely left to those missionaries to decide.

The slave trade activities along the West Coast of African in the 18th century is believed, led to the initial contact between the European, his language and this paved the way for the emerging missionaries and the British colonial masters. Omolewa (1975) states that “English language came into Nigeria before the advent of the missionaries in the country. The “Coastal English” spoken then according to him, was highly adulterated. It was a transactional and functional kind of English used by traders along the coast of Nigeria.

Bamgbose (2004)  espousing to the type of English spoken during this period states that “the contract gave birth to an inter-language which he terms “Coastal English” with pidgin and broken English as its variants”

The coming of the British and English speaking missionaries in large numbers to the Southern part of Nigeria as from 1842 brought up the question of a language to adopt for communication between the indigenous population and the guest. Omolewa(1975)  lending credence to the fact in line with Rev. M. Suntar, an inspector of schools who said that the missionaries felt that the language of the native was “neither very extensive nor of a high quality…… and only interesting to the comparative philologist and never likely to become of any practical use to civilization (1975).

Baldeh (1990) continues by saying that during this period, the implementation, acceptances and the role of English in the body politic of Nigeria started with it being adopted as the channel of instruction in 1882 and vehicle for the training of the badly needed man power to man the fledging government services (1-2) both the colonial masters and their missionary counterparts realized that for effective administration and overall success, they could not do without the natives.

Consequently, the education ordinance and codes of 1882, 1896, 1918 and 1926 were enacted for the language to be used internally for these training. About the same time also, Adetugbo, citing Crowder in Uzoezie reports that freed slaves from Freetown returned to their ancestral homes in Lagos, Badagary and Abeokuta. The English language then became the language of power and success. The ascending of the language and the status it bestowed on those that acquired it made the language a prestigious one for many Nigerians then. Another strong factor for the ascendancy of the English language was the attitude towards the native language.

Regrettably, the vernacular language were rejected and relegated to the background. To further ensure this, pupils were disciplined for using them. The result was according to Baldeh “a progressively waning enthusiasm for the local language” the attitude of the native themselves to their own local language did not help matters. The English language thus became a medium of instruction in schools. By no stretch of the imagination could any of the languages rival the English language in the regard. By 1914, when Lord Luggard amalgamated the Northern and Southern protectorates into what is today called Nigeria, English language has been enthroned in the country and had permeated the different facts of the lives of the citizens.

Subsequent years saw the emergence of English language as the national lingua Franca or official language. This fact is due, first, to the multi ethno linguistic composition of Nigeria where the language is seen as neutral; and second, status of the English language as world language.

Slang is a type of language that consists of words and phrases that are regarded as very informal and more common in speech than writing, typically restricted to a particular context or group of people. For example, “grass is slang for marijuana”

Slang is very informal language. It can offencesive if used for people who do not understand the meaning and do not belong to the group of the users. People usually use slang as a distinct variety of language and it has been defined differently by scholars from their point of view. The Longman dictionary of contemporary English defines it as:

Very informal language that includes new and sometimes rude word especially words used by particular group of people such as criminals, school children or people who take drugs

Slang according to the encyclopedia of language and linguistics, Asher and Simpson (2010) is more of sociological than a purely linguistic idea and it is best understood in the modern society. It further states that slang is the special restricted speech of sub-group or subculture in a society as well as a highly informal unconventional vocabulary of more general use.

Patridge (2009) also asserts that: Slang is easy enough to use but very hard to write about with the facile convincingness that a subject apparently so simple would at first sight see demanding. This is because the simplest thing are  often the hardest to define their search certainly for it is usually at first only their simplicity is what strikes one the most forcibly.

In our day to day activities , we encounter slang, its effectiveness as a tool, particularly among youths verbal communication be it in their personal, social and even academic lives. This kind of conclusion has hindered the existence of serious academic study or work, especially along the realms of linguistic the scientific study of language. Hitherto, works on slang words and their meanings. Indeed, the earlier works were mostly in the form of lexicography of slang.

The  view of slang as a level of usage or a maker of social position in systems of diverse often of vertical stratification; however opens the way to see the distinctive uses of slang in social interaction and fore shadows its larger sociology. The difference between standard, prepare or edited speech, on the other hand, and low, unconventional slang on the other provides the tension that enables slang to serve as a language of social opposition.

Some slang is associated with certain time periods. In the 19960’s young  people used terms like groovy, cool, dude, fart-out and trippin’! some of those terms are still used. Modern slang includes boo(boyfriend or girlfriend), baby boomers (people born between 1944 and 1963), green (money) my bad, my padi,(my friend) and shotgun( calling dibs on the front seat of a car).

The advent of the internet and other technology such as internet and chat has added slang to the English repertoire. Unfortunately this kind of slang is causing many to become lazy in their writing.

Essay writing is, generally, a piece of writing that gives the author’s own argument but the definition is vague, overlapping with those of an article, a pamphlet, and a short story. An essay is a piece of writing that methodically analyses and evaluates a topic or issue. Fundamentally, an essay is designed to get your academic opinion on a particular matter.

Junior Secondary Schools: is a phase of education in state secondary schools for years 7, 8 and 9 which helps to ensure the bridge between primary and secondary school is safe, strong and consistent for all students.

Statement of the Problem

Slang is “informal language consisting of words and expressions that are not considered appropriate for formal occasions; often vituperative or vulgar” or “the characteristic language of a particular group” (Hyper Dictionary). So on the one hand, the listener may not understand what is said because he is not   a member of the selective group that knows that lingo; on the other, he may not understand it very well but could be offended by it.

However, one problem associated with the slang is that sometimes students become unable to differentiate between when slang should be used and when formal language should be used, allowing slang to infiltrate what should be scholarly, formal language. It was observed that students these days are becoming so familiar with using slang, such as my guy (my friend), padi mi (my firend), swag (style)” in their everyday communications through social media and texts, that slang terms are now could make their ways into students’ papers most especially in writing essay. It was observed that there has been a dramatic decline in students’ writing abilities, and this decline was attributed to chatting, Facebook, and texting. Another problem is that students do not even know how to use writing mechanics such as the use of capital letters, punctuation mark anymore. Some double syllable sentence  are now shorten to become one syllabic words while some have the problem of spelling. Different situations call for different language styles and their usages. It is a known fact that to some students, writing of essay now posed a problem because  errors are unconsciously made sometimes.

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Updated: June 12, 2018 — 11:19 am

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