EFFECT OF SOCIO ECONOMIC STATUS ON STUDENTS ENGLISH SPEECH

CHAPTER ONE

1.1 Background to the study

Correlation is a connection between two ideas and facts, especially when one may be the cause of the other. It refers to the extent to which two variables have a linear relationship or are dependent on each other. Correlation is positive when the direction of the variables is the same, such that as one increases the other also increases while it is negative when the variables move in the opposite directions (http://www.simplypsychology.org/correlation.html). On the other hand, phonology is a branch of linguistics which studies the sound systems of languages (Crystal, 2008; Awonusi et al., 2015). Crystal (2008: 391) claims that the aim of phonology is to demonstrate the patterns of distinctive sounds found in a language, and to make as many general statements as possible about the nature of sound systems in the languages of the world. This implies that phonology is concerned with the range and function of sounds in specific languages. Phonological correlation, derived from correlation and phonology, deals with the linear relationship between the sound patterns and functions of a language and social stratification. Sociolinguists, over time, have empirically tested the hypothesis that the structure of language is related at many levels of abstraction to social structure and that this relationship is demonstrable by predictable correlations (Berk-Seligson and Seligson, 1978:1). Some quantitative studies on phonological and grammatical variables have confirmed this association (Labov 1972a; Hassan, 1973). Though there have been previous studies on correlates in Nigeria, their focuses have not been on the linear or dependent relationship between phonology and other variables, especially those related to socio-economic status. Previous correlate studies include Ianna (2007), who appraised the linguistic correlate in Nigeria‟s developmental strategies, and Oyekan (2015), who studied the teachers‟ perceptions of factors that hinder students‟ achievement in Biology.

Statement of the problem

Most previous works on the phonology of Nigerian English have approached it from the geotribal and educational attainment perspectives. These scholars study the educated variety, sometimes from different geographical regions often termed “geo-tribal varieties” ( Jibril, 1982; Jowitt, 1991; Akinjobi, 2004; Ilolo, 2013; Utulu, 2014; Akindele, 2015) and describe its phonological markers. Only a few such as Oladipupo (2014) has used other social variables to study intra-linguistic variation in Nigerian English. Oladipupo did a sociophonetic study of phonological processes in NE but used adults as participants. Consequently, there is dearth of literature on the speeches of adolescents to ascertain whether their socio-economic background exert some influence on their English pronunciation skills. English pronunciation has been confirmed as a major challenge to non-native speakers‟ competence in the use of English. If this has been proved by studies on Nigerian adults from different language groups, it is equally important to find out if Nigerian adolescents‟ pronunciation also differs remarkably from the Received Pronunciation collectively or it could be socially stratified such that socio-economic backgrounds are considered as correlates of their pronunciation

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Updated: 8th May 2019 — 3:58 pm