IDENTIFICATION AND ANALYSIS OF DIFFICULTIES IN READING FRENCH LANGUAGE IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN NSUKKA EDUCATION ZONE

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ABSTRACT

This work dealt with the identification and analysis of difficulties in reading French language in Senior Secondary Schools in Nsukka Education Zone. The introductory aspect looked at some definitions of language and the need for the study of French language in Nigeria, including some of the problems militating against the implementation of French language policies. Such variables as phonological awareness, reading fluency, multilingualism, gender and location of students were speculated as possible causes of students’ difficulties in reading French Language. The study was delimited to identifying and analyzing the difficulties of Senior Secondary School French language students’ reading in relation to pronunciation, lexis, syntax, and fluency. Four research questions and two null hypotheses guided the work. Descriptive survey research design was adopted in this research. One hundred and twenty (120) senior secondary school students of French language were randomly composed from thirteen (13) secondary schools that offer French language in the zone. A French Language Reading Achievement Test (FLRAT) was used to collate the necessary data. The study revealed that the major areas of difficulty in pronunciation were in articulation of syllable and nasalization, while recognition of suffixes and gender issue in French language grammar constituted difficulties in reading syntax, with distinction of homophones difficulties in reading lexis.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title page
Abstract
Table of Contents
List of tale
List of Appendices

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
Background of the study
Statement of the Problem
Purpose of the Study
Significance of the Study
Scope of the Study
Research Questions
Hypotheses

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
Conceptual Framework
Concept of Reading
Importance of Reading
Types of Reading
French language lexis
Reading Difficulties in French Language
Theoretical Framework
The Gestalt Cognitive Theory
The Schema Theory of Language Learning
The Generative Learning Model
Inter-Language Theories
Review of Related Empirical Studies
Summary of Literature Review

CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODS
Design of the Study
Area of the Study
Population of the Study
Sample and Sampling Technique
Instrument for Data Collection
Validation of the Instrument
Reliability of the Instrument
Method of Data Collection
Method of Data Analysis

CHAPTER FOUR: RESULTS
Research Question 1
Research Question 2
Research Question 3
Research Question 4
Summary of Findings

CHAPTER FIVE: DISCUSSION OF RESULTS, CONCLUSIONS, IMPLICATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Findings
Educational Implications
Recommendations
Conclusion
Limitations
Suggestions for further research
Summary of the Study
References
APPENDICES


CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study
Human beings have the gift of language which distinguishes them from the rest of the animal world. They are said to be homo sapiens by reason of language. Man alone has the power to articulate speech and it is largely by virtue of this power that human beings can reason. It is difficult to think of what the world of man would look like without language. Of course, one would find it difficult to imagine the implications of such a situation, since the very thought itself would be in language.
Language has been variously defined. According to Safra (2002) language consists of vocal sounds to which meanings have been assigned by cultural conventions and which is often supplemented by various gestures. Language is the medium man uses to shape and express his thought. Language consists of a number of verbal and non-verbal presentations of ideas, concepts and these are represented through symbols and signs in the written form, by means of which our thoughts are logically and intelligibly proved to be truth. Language gives human existence its central meaning and focus. According to Palmer (2005), Otagburuagu and Okorji (2003), man is unlike other animals because he is homo loquens – man the speaking animal.


From the definitions of language, one could infer that there are certain features peculiar to human language. For instance, the use of vocal symbols (speech sounds), use of gestures; nods, smiles, and of course, verbalization. Animals and birds can vocalize but not verbalize. Other lower animals can communicate but not with a meaningful language like human beings. A bird like parrot can repeat or imitate human sounds but cannot say the meanings. This is why, in considering further the features of human language, Otagburuagu and Okorji (2003) assert that all languages are dynamic, productive and communicably dependable through speech and exist in human nature as part of culture. Human language is used for specific purposes such as medium of expression of feelings, medium of creativity, evaluation, indoctrination, social interaction, articulation and classification of thought. All these boil down to the general purpose of language, which is a means of communication. By implication, language is the unique property of human beings and all the developments of man, be it intellectual, ethical, political, social or economic revolve entirely on the instrumentality of language. It stimulates all forms of mobility among human beings.

This informs the fact that Nigeria, an English speaking country, as a result of colonization by the British apart from her Anglophone inclination, maintains a bilateral relationship with the neighboring French-speaking countries around her in areas of economic, political, and socio-cultural dealings. Countries like Cameroon, Chad Republic, Benin Republic, Togo, Niger and a host of others are in constant touch with Nigeria under the aegis of the Economic Community of West African States since its inception in May, 1975.
French and English languages are the two major languages used for communication during deliberations in the meeting sessions of the union. This informs the necessity of the language for every Nigerian.

The turn of events in the development of French in Nigeria has culminated in the New French/English bilingual policy of French as a second language. The policy of French becoming a second official language confers on it a status similar to that of English in Nigeria. French, therefore, becomes a core subject at the senior primary and junior parts of the 9-year Basic Education.

The new language policy is consequent upon government’s awareness and appreciation of the role of the French language as a unifying force in the inter-regional scene among African states, viz.: “For the smooth interaction with her neighbors, it is desirable for every Nigerian to speak French. Accordingly, French shall be the second official language in Nigeria and it shall be compulsory in schools” (FRN, 1998, 2004). Again government has realized that operating a monolingual policy of English as the only official language on the international scene in this millennium and probably beyond may be detrimental to her democratic and developmental process (Opara, 2000).
With this change in status, French is no longer studied as an optional language in the school but as a second language and compulsory subject. According to the National Policy on Education......

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