IMPACT OF CODE MIXING AND CODE SWITCHING ON SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS’ WRITTEN COMPOSITION [ENG002]

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1   Background to the Study

Though a foreign language, English has become an amalgamating element while Nigerian languages are codes of dichotomy, creating or escalating enmity along linguistic/ethnic lines on matters that have nothing to do with language itself. Nonetheless, the sheer number of languages and a people on the move leave no room for monolingualism. Rather, the norm is bilingualism (multilingualism) in urban and semi-urban areas as well as among the educated in rural areas. Nigeria is therefore a case of bilinguals in multilingual environments (Nkechi, 2014).

In a society where individuals speak more than one language there is usually a language that is naturally influenced by the others. Some of the effects of multilingualism are code-mixing and code-switching, bilingualism, diglossia, etc. when a speaker comes in contact with two or more languages, he or she may start to use the languages together even though it might not be with equal proficiency. However these languages affect one another and often lead to code-mixing and code-switching. Thus, code-mixing and code-switching occurs when elements of two or more languages are mixed between sentences, clauses and phrases (Adetuyi, Owaniyi and Adeniran, 2017).

Code-switching and code-mixing may become an integral element of bilingual speech when there is no functional differentiation between two languages in contact or restrictions on their use. Where languages in contact have significant place in the socio-economic context, code-switching and code-mixing may lead to the evolving of a “new” language, such as Singlish, Franglais (Frenglish), Hinglish, etc. But if one of the languages has a superior position in the socio-politico-economic arrangement, there is a tendency for people to shift from the less “significant” language to a dominant socio-economically viable language. Education and mobility of people from their places of origin to other parts of the country favour shift from local languages to English in Nigeria (Nkechi, 2014).

Code-switching and code-mixing is often used as a strategy to emphasize a particular point, to substitute a word in place of an unknown word in the target language, to reinforce a request, to clarify a point, to identify identity and friendship, to ease tension and inject humour into a conversation. This situation has been observed in many African countries in which most learners speak a language other than English language (Bakar, 2006).

Students and teachers employ code-switching and code-mixing, the practice of alternating between the languages to easy communication. Code-switching and code-mixing is one of the issues existing in the classroom when teachers/students teach/learn English language in secondary schools in Ogun State. Code-switching and code-mixing is practiced mostly among the teachers and students in classrooms when teachers teach students English Language. Accordingly, Adetuyi, Owaniyi and Adeniran (2017) observed that in many schools in Oyo State, both Yoruba and English languages were being used as the languages of classroom interaction among the students. They further noted that both teachers and students engaged on code-switching and code-mixing on a significant scale.

The use of code-switching and code-mixing by students and teachers is not without its own consequences. Observation has shown that code-switching and code-mixing between English language and Yoruba language has ultimately retarded the act of speaking and writing in English language among secondary school students in Ogun State.

This phenomenon has become worrisome as students’ academic performance in written compositions often shown the dismal effect of code-switching and code-mixing on students’ ability to imagine, think and write convincingly. This development is not surprising because having taught and learnt through code-switching and code-mixing, it becomes a problem as examinations are being written in English language and not a combination of Yoruba and English languages. Hence, this study seeks to examine the impact of code mixing and code switching on secondary school students’ written composition with a particular reference to Ijebu-Ode Local Government Area (LGA) of Ogun State.

1.2     Statement of the Problem

The achievement of secondary school students in English written composition in Ijebu-Ode LGA of Ogun State is very discouraging. The students’ failure in English written composition is due to different types of errors which they commit and this may not be unconnected to code-switching and code-mixing.

The influence of code-switching and code-mixing on English language written composition in secondary schools in Ogun State, specifically in Ijebu-Ode LGA, is a crucial study because little has been documented so far. Code-switching and code-mixing on secondary students in Ogun State has been observed as one of the most common reasons for students learning poor and ungrammatical English language which results to produce teachers who teach students ungrammatical English language in secondary schools.

Hence, code-switching and code-mixing deserves attentions so that secondary school students can advance linguistically. However little has been done as code-switching and code-mixing still exists; this instigated the researcher to undertake this study particularly to examine the impact of code mixing and code switching on secondary school students’ written composition with a particular reference to Ijebu-Ode Local Government Area (LGA) of Ogun State.

1.3     Purpose of the Study

The general objective of this study is to examine the impact of code mixing and code switching on secondary school students’ written composition. Other specific objectives are:

        i.            To investigate the relative impact of code mixing on learning of English language among secondary school students’ in Ijebu-Ode LGA of Ogun State.

      ii.            To find out the impact of code switching on secondary school students’ academic performance in English language.

    iii.            To identify the reasons for code-switching and code-mixing in the learning of English language in secondary schools in Ijebu-Ode LGA of Ogun State.

    iv.            To provide recommendations on ways to avoid code-switching and code-mixing in learning English language.

1.4    Research Questions

This study is guided by the following research questions:

a)      What is the impact of code mixing and code switching on secondary school students’ written composition?

b)      What is the relative impact of code mixing on learning of English language among secondary school students’ in Ijebu-Ode LGA of Ogun State?

c)      What is the impact of code switching on secondary school students’ academic performance in English language?

1.5     Research Hypotheses

The research is intended to test the following hypotheses:

Ho1:  There is no significant impact of code mixing and code switching on secondary school         students’ written composition.

Ho2:     There is no relative impact of code mixing on learning of English language among secondary school students’ in Ijebu-Ode LGA of Ogun State.

Ho3:     There is no significant impact of code switching on secondary school students’ academic performance in English language.

1.6    Significance of the Study